The NHL announced on June 22, 2016 that Las Vegas would be awarded an expansion franchise during the 2017-2018 season. This is a landmark decision because leagues have been hesitant to enter the Las Vegas market due to gambling issues. What was once a taboo issue is commonly talked about and openly supported. NFL owners are investors in Daily Fantasy Sports companies, such as DraftKings and FanDuel. Daily Fantasy Sports has made huge inroads in allowing leagues to legitimately consider Las Vegas as an expansion city for professional sports.
Now that the NHL has made the announcement, Las Vegas has one year to build a fan base and rally a community around a hockey team. The best way to do this is through integrated marketing and community relations campaigns that get members of the organization out into the community. Many in Las Vegas are tourists, and the locals are not used to having one team to support. Most likely, many of the locals already support a different franchise, so this team needs to win over new fans in the area. By getting out into the community and giving back to the surrounding areas, the team will connect with fans. It will humanize the athletes and energize a fan base to support a local team despite how it does on the ice. There are many children who are dying to support a home team, so it is important to focus on youth and their parents. Best practices include:
-Hold youth camps or clinics to get kids involved in the sport
-Hold rallies in local communities to educate and energize a fan base
-Create give-back days in each town or community for fans to hold meet and greets as well as work together with the athletes on a community project
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