By Anne Russell. There’s more than one reason to attend a hockey game. And there’s a lot of competition for people’s attention and money when it comes to choosing how to spend leisure time.
The marketing team at the Abbotsford Heat hockey club knows this. Thus they were happy to tap into some student brain power recently when they worked with University of the Fraser Valley business students to find out what would inspire people who had attended a Heat game to continue coming out, and what would draw new customers.
“The students’ research assignment was designed to help our client, the Abbotsford Heat, understand their fans’ entertainment experience and expectations. The goal was to help the Heat organization enhance the fans’ in-stadium entertainment experience,” noted David Dobson, instructor for the Business 320 research methods course.
The Abbotsford Heat is an American Hockey League club and the farm team of the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League.
The five student groups each conducted primary and secondary research into what motivates Heat fans. Secondary research included using the UFV Library to consult journal articles and other resources about the business and psychology of sports marketing. Primary research included customer surveys and focus groups. The assignment culminated in a competition between the five student groups, with each group taking turns presenting to members of the Abbotsford Heat marketing team, including senior manager of marketing and sales Roxann Bury, VP business operations and communications Adam Fritz, and director of ticket sales and service Jesse Maxson.
The students, all dressed in business attire and putting their best presentation skills into practice, summarized their research and made recommendations, using Powerpoint and props to illustrate key points.
Some of the more memorable quotes from the presentations were:
“How do you turn a couch potato into a Heat fan?”
“There are more than 500,000 people in the suburban communities, and many of them are closer to Abbotsford than to Vancouver.”
“What you’re selling is more than a hockey game — it’s an experience.”