SPORTS

One expert says branding a NHL team this fast is a monumental task

Apr 19, 2024, 5:59 PM | Updated: 6:29 pm

LOGAN — The timeline for Utah’s new NHL team is rapidly approaching for the 23-24 hockey season, and some marketing experts say the new owners have a huge task ahead.

“Right now, I don’t think I want to be in the Jazz front office,” said Eric Schulz with a laugh.

Schulz not only teaches Marketing, Branding, & Sports Management for Utah State University, but he also lived it. He handled marketing for the Miller Sports Group, including the Utah Jazz, for five years; he even helped launch the XFL in 2002.

“The biggest problem that I see is trying to get the tickets sold quickly,” Schulz said.

Eric Schulz, USU professor and former Larry H. Miller group.

Eric Schulz, USU professor and former Larry H. Miller group. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

He said that’s because the team doesn’t have many things that draw fans in to spend money on, like a brand or a team name.

“You got to get it licensed. You got to get it all designed. You’ve got to get all that stuff out to the different people to make the jerseys and to make the t-shirts and the hats,” Schulz said.

However, Schulz said that the new owner, Ryan Smith, has some things he can take advantage of. Smith has the infrastructure and the people behind the Utah Jazz, which will likely be leveraged to help launch the new team.

But it also means a lot more work for people who already have full-time jobs.

Ryan Smith teases reimagined downtown SLC with new arena as lawmakers debate billions in subsidies

Schulz said there is one more thing that helps Smith and the new team: money.

“You know, luckily, Ryan’s got enough money,” Schulz laughed. “If you throw enough money at anything, you can make it happen. It’s going to be expensive.”

And that’s to name a few of the things behind getting this all going by October. Schulz said building a new team brand is something that usually takes years.

“Just the timing, you know? They’ll try to get it done between now and October. It’s just insane, it’s crazy!” he said.

Schulz said people are excited because it’s new, and that will help during the next two or three years.

He said the challenge typically comes later when it’s all familiar, and maybe you’ve got a new Major League Baseball team to take some of that attention away.

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One expert says branding a NHL team this fast is a monumental task