A Penny For Your Thoughts

The following article was submitted by one of our readers, Ben Lindsey, who besides his love of Kings’ hockey has a very specific passion for the home game fan experience.  You may remember some of Ben’s work, as he edited a pump-up video we all enjoyed so much.  Here Ben takes his crack at the written word and implores you to join him in a united stand against what most of us can and have agreed is a wholly sub-par game experience.  This is a subject I am personally very interested in and have been planning my own article on for quite a while.  Expect a petition in the future.  So read on, enjoy, and most importantly, chime in if you echo Ben’s thoughts and criticism.

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As a fresh sheet of ice was being laid in the Staples Center, pictures of the new ice started their Internet rotation with a few news stories and interviews to boot.  With it, as with most things associated with the net, the armchair critics (the ever-important fans, namely us) whom accompany the stories went to work.  Not without their fair share of productive and well-heeled criticism, they sometimes start good conversations; in this case about the overall fan experience at the Staples Center during hockey season for our beloved LA Kings.

After a slightly misguided rant on a popular (and now official) Kings blog about a couple of pennies being embedded in center ice at Staples by our overused mascot grew into a full-blown conversation about how much the organization is again missing the mark with its game presentation efforts, I wanted to make a few points about the entire unfortunate nonsense surrounding a typical LA Kings game.  Although I think laying pennies in the ice is nothing more than simple fodder for the organization to muster up some cheap publicity, having a mascot isn’t anything pathetically off-track when it comes to trying to liven up a sports arena.  YES, Bailey is overused and at times, almost embarrassingly so.

Having said that, the Kings just hired a new but yet to be named Sr. Director of Game Presentation and Events, replacing Jon Adams.  I am genuinely optimistic in what he/she will do with the travesty that has been the Kings’ hockey experience in the past.  However, I’m willing to bet that he/she does not succeed, unfortunately.  That’s simply my realist point of view surfacing.  I say that based entirely on my personal experiences over the past 20 years coupled with every other Kings Fan who expects a little more out of a hockey game than tee shirts being flung through the air by the ice crew, a horrific music selection, poorly produced pre-game videos (nothing against Aaron Brenner, the man behind Kings Vision.  I’m referring to the troops marching in on the kingdom and the inherently amateur graphics inserted in the videos themselves) and other on-ice shenanigans between periods.

Simply put, going to a hockey game at the Staples Center is only a little more exciting than hitting a beer league game at your local rink when it comes to the experience we have outside of the game itself.  That’s terribly sad considering that going to a hockey game in LA means you’re with family, you’re brothers in puck, a unique group of people who stick together within a town where most go unnoticed and alone.  The level of how sad this is finds itself multiplied exponentially by the fact that a good deal of us within the family are marketing/entertainment professionals, talented artists, editors, producers, etc.  Some of us are all-of-the-above.  Be one, a few or none-of-the-above, the fact still remains that this is a time of incredibly savvy consumers who demand more out of their video games, can call out shotty special effects in the biggest of blockbusters and to be frank, have pre-packaged software on their store bought Macs that allow them to rival the quality of what’s been output graphically by the Kings over the past decade.  This of course does not include the work Aaron Brenner has produced since coming aboard, which is excellent.  If that weren’t enough, fail at something these days and the electronic ripple effect throws itself throughout the country at the speed of light, literally.

Another issue is the Kings advertising.  I can attest to the utter lack of efficacy in marketing from a target audience member’s point of view just as I’m sure most of you can as well.  I didn’t start seeing predominant advertising in the LA valley until last season when some billboards went up and shortly before that when a few Metro buses were wrapped in Kings regalia for a short while. Granted, the marketing and game experience departments are two separate entities – they both work collectively to enhance any experience we all have as fans, die-hards and casuals alike.  However what should be a two way street, often goes unrequited.  I was at LAX last week and the Parking Spot bus beared the Kings’ crown with a pathetically small 1′ diameter decal!  Watch a Kings game on TV and tell me how many times you see the Parking Spot logo.  Basically, any Kings fan can tell you what the Parking Spot is but does that door swing both ways?  Does anyone tripping through LAX or Burbank associate the Parking Spot with us?  No.  Who formulated that partnership?  I’m quite confident I don’t need to address the Under Armour door our boys walk through before every home game.  That abomination deserves an entire entry in and of itself.

When asked to comment on the marketing for this season in regards to how it will be affected by the absence of an NBA season, COO Chris McGowan responded somewhat vaguely with a standard media-prepped response that no one can blame him for.  Coupled with the lack of effective marketing over the past few seasons, this leads me to believe there’s going to be nothing special happening this year what so ever.  Again, this is an assumption based off of what we’ve been shown so often in the past.  Such can be a tragic mistake, given the opportunity to secure a somewhat higher return on investment with no NBA, no NFL (yet) and for all intensive purposes, no MLB here in town.  I don’t think it’s even necessary to point out that this is the best line-up we’ve had on paper since ’93.  It’s promising to be a banner year for us and what are we going to do with that opportunity?  Nothing, so it would seem.  Case in point, Mr. McGowan also mentioned that we’ll be sticking with the ever unpopular “Pride=Passion=Power” slogan.  Excuse me while I puke predominantly pink bits of pancake.  The fans are the only ones showing any pride with the team from a marketing perspective.  The passion is never felt outside of the arena in respect to our image as an organization and power is not the sum of the two when they’re utilized so ineffectively.

With AEG having ownership of the area, it’s a shame there’s little-to-no Kings collateral present while approaching the arena on any given game night.  It’s a shame there’s absolutely NO fan interaction inside the arena or just before you enter off of Chick Hearn Ct..  It’s a shame the organization is missing the boat in most every single aspect of wanting to have “…the best experience in all of sports.”  That’s quoting the ad AEG had for the Sr. Director of Game Presentation and Events opening.  We’re not even close to that.  This is all without mentioning the utter disaster the pre-game show has been since they started doing it…and we’re in the entertainment capital of the world! Not fooled by a bunch of flashing lights and boisterous music?  It seems like most are not and neither am I.  It’s like watching an old man dance at a wedding.  There’s absolutely no choreography to it at all but you still watch hoping he doesn’t fall and break his hip!  Ultimately, all the pieces are in place for it to be spectacular but the execution is lacking in every single manner possible.

Music is an integral piece of the fan experience puzzle and Deiter Ruehle, the Kings’ Music Director has a fantastic résumé, but without the knowledge of who’s ultimately calling the shots when it comes to what music is played during the games, we cannot completely fault him.  Surely, a lot of it lies squarely on his head, though.  Regardless the fact remains that the music selection is poor and not representative of the tastes of the core fanbase.  Remember, this is an organization, meaning there’s a great possibility of many a chief sticking his or her nose in where it most likely does not belong, simply because they can.  Again, this equals a frenetically jumbled mess of creative/corporate output. In other words, a less-than-stellar game experience for all.

I have an entire presentation in the works for the organization on how to capitalize on the abundant opportunities presented to us as an organization.  Yes, WE are part of the organization as well.  WE think we have the best team in the league.  WE think there’s no better place to play hockey.  WE think our team, our image and our FAMILY needs to be more properly represented as a whole. WE need to write the Kings and tell them how much it all sucks and that we want more.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.  They won’t listen if we simply bitch and moan about it on the boards and blogs as so many of us are doing rather consistently.  We have to be heard as part of the family and actively so.  Otherwise, love it or hate it, you’re going to get poorly-printed tee shirts thrust at you while you’re trying to enjoy your $16 beer, wincing at the sound of Fergie’s voice so tritely blared to get you to respond to the “Applause Now” sign before we go back on-air.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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120 replies

  1. Couldn’t agree more with this article . . I’ve been complaining about the music for a long time now.

  2. Do you happen to have reports on demographics of King’s fans and what makes up the “Core Fanbase”? If you do, please share with the rest of us. I’m assuming you have access to the survey results that Kings send out at the end of the season asking questions about the hockey experience. I would really like to see this complete results as well.

    • Are you trying to say that you believe the Black Eyed Peas are appropriate hockey music.

      I find it hard to imagine that your average hockey fan puts on Top 40 on their way home from games.

      Personally every fan I’ve ever talked to thinks the music at Staples sucks, the Briggs are worse and all want to hear the Pantera and Slayer riffs that get played at other stadiums.

      • … Holy balls – I’m in complete agreement with JDM here. Stop the internet at once.

        • I’m….. speechless…. I almost want to change my opinion just to spite you! Lol. But seriously, I feel very strongly about this topic. I wrote one article about the music two seasons ago. http://lakingsnews.com/2009/12/07/a-cochlear-plea/

          I’m sick of them catering to Laker fans at Kings games.

          • I agree… this is the Kings house. Not the Lakers house. Yes the music from time to time forces me to act like beavis and butthead commenting/making fun of it while its playing. I suppose I found a way to make it slightly more enjoyable but it does take away from the intensity of the game. Good article though I don’t have a problem with the “overuse” of Bailey. He heckles the opposing teams fans in a fun way and I dig it.

      • Yes more metal, bleading through, otep, listen to rise refuse resist, by otep, no more stupid popy , hip hop crap, pantera respect, the end of metalica one, that gets your blood boiling, and if I here that , ( every body clap your hands bs again ohhhhhhh god save me, and why does it start with a window licker deeeeeau?

    • My demo reports show the majority of fans are 11% 45-54 yr old males, 22% 35-44 year old males, 17% 25-33 year old males. Interestingly enough, it also shows a 13% 45-54 year old female population as well with not to spare in the other age groups. If you were to take those age groups in the hockey community and ask them how many of them listen to the BEP, what kind of answers do you think you’d field?

      Either way, if you want a good measure of what the majority of Kings fans want straight from the fans themselves, join up with some of the fantastic blogs and messages forums we have available to us and you’ll get the proof you need.

    • so we only want white middle class metal heads at kings games…. hmmm sounds like you want to limit our fanbase. who cares? you guys are missing the point… JUST WIN THE EFFIN CUP! GO KINGS!

      • Totally agree with this. I agree that Metal does pump the blood for some people, but that’s a select group, from a select age range. We’re in LA for christ’s sake! A very diverse and pop based community. I’m not a fan of most pop music, but could care less if I hear the black eyed peas for the 500th time. Someone must like it, or it wouldn’t be a top 40 hit. If the kings win they can play what ever they want. I attend the game to watch hockey. Not listen to someones iPod playlist. Bring us a cup (or simply another finals appearance) and it’ll become the hottest ticket in town. Until then, we take a back seat to the rest of the championship holding LA sports franchises.

  3. Nicely written.

    I’m starting to get the impression, that the only people who believe in this team sit squarely “outside” the glass. We see a team that, “on paper” is the best in almost 20 years. Yet, they seem to lack that belief in themselves. We see them fold when they get to a level of success that requires mental, not physical, presence to take the next step. We see a coach that many argue is holding on too tight, like he’s not confident that the team will step up if he loosens the reigns a little bit. A GM that talks loudly about culture, but keeps pulling guys from the outside rather than promoting guys from below (how many captains do we have in the locker room now?). A star defenseman that, as argued on this blog a few days ago, may not be convinced that a long term deal is in his interest because this team hasn’t had much success in the playoffs (we’re ok with a short deal as long as we believe this team will win).

    And here we are, reading an article that demonstrates how little the ownership and marketing team cares about the brand. The image is lack luster. The craftsmanship poor.

    Is this a top down issue were looking at? On the one hand, we just read that AEG is spending a lot of money with a win now attitude. On the other, we live in an entertainment and marketing hub, but can’t seem to promote this team with any level of consistency or professionalism.

    Why is it like this? Why ISN’T LA a hockey town?

    Anyways, I enjoyed the article. Thanks for posting it.

    • Thanks, Chris. Our competition is stiff in this town. We have the legendary Lakers with whom we share not only a building with, but the town itself. Ever seen how large the statue of Magic is compared to Gretzky’s?

      The money being spent within the organization in the article you were referring to is for the players and conditioning. Marketing is a separate beast altogether. I am not claiming we need to spend more in this department. I’m claiming it needs to be overhauled. Too many variables to list how in one sitting but it’s possible to take the current budget for marketing, couple it with AEG’s existing assets, a clear vision and professional execution to come out with a sporting event that would make anyone who spends their hard earned money at a Kings game keep coming back, if not for the atmosphere, because you’re a part of something larger than life; the Los Angeles Kings! We’re a family, not a team.

      • Yeah sorry if i implied that we might need more money in advertising or marketing, i was only referencing the AEG money as a clear indication that the money is there, or that they seem to be taking the approach that money must be spent in order to succeed.

        They seem to have the support of AEG (one would think), so I suppose my assertion that the ownership and marketing teams don’t care about the team is wrong. Instead, the marketing team is maybe just not capable. I assume thats what your getting at when you say the approach needs to be over hauled. I guess the current team could revamp their strategy, but if they are this far off the mark as many seem to think, then perhaps a different group could breathe some fresh air into this whole thing.

      • “Ever seen how large the statue of Magic is compared to Gretzky’s?”

        Ever seen how large Magic is compared to Gretzky? Lol. I’m half joking, I know the Magic statue is exaggerated. But the real Magic probably still looks huge next to the real Gretzky.

  4. I totally agree with you on the complete and utter lack of any type of Kings advertisement appearing around the southland….they had billboards along the 91 right before the 110 freeway two years ago that were pretty good….but last year they were not up at all. Even when the Kings made the playoffs nothing was around to get the town in the mood. Everything seems centered around the Dodgers (wait I just threw up a little in my mouth) and frankly who cares????

    I will say that if you go to the Honda Center you will notice a HUGE difference in the game experience. In fact, there is almost none there and so you do notice the difference. The only thing I will give Honda Center (and it pains me to say things good about it) is their music is sooooooooooooooo much better.

    Of course I could say that we don’t need advertising to bring in fans because “true” hockey fans know that the team to support is the Kings and we don’t need a billboard to tell us that. Remember we are not Ducks…..WE ARE THE KINGS!!!

    • Agreed in part. As great as it was, last year we missed selling out 6 of our home games. In contrast, the Canucks (I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth as well) sold out their last 130 some odd home games. This is based off of my memory of seeing the numbers a few months back but the fact remains, we have seats still left to fill but I don’t like that kind of attitude.

      I don’t want to simply “fill” the seats for every home game. I want there to be a mad scramble to get your tickets! I want bloodshed and wars being fought in the streets in order to get your Kings’ tickets. It’s true we don’t need billboards and tv/radio spots to get us to the arena as die hards but so many people are missing out on the greatness that is the Los Angeles Kings…and that sucks.

    • Everything seems centered around the Dodgers (wait I just threw up a little in my mouth) and frankly who cares????

      … Yeah, imagine that – a team that’s been in Los Angeles for 55 years, and won the World championship five times in that span, having some billboards around the city.

      And, as for “who cares”, a lot more here care about the Dodgers than the Kings, frankly.

  5. I enjoyed the article. File me under the exception to the rule though. For me, the fan experience is the on ice product. I don’t even hear the music they play. I don’t pay attention to the graphics. I am so completely absorbed into the game, that the rest of it is irrelevant. Even after the game is over, I am still seeing the plays in my head and hitting rewind. My wife leaves me alone for about 20 minutes post game until I come back to earth.

    In the time they have thrown or shot t-shirts, I have stood up twice, mainly to stretch my legs. I think I did raise my hand one time and I felt like a dork doing it. I only have two gripes – (1) the lack of healthy and fresh food options (which is why I don’t eat there anymore) and (2) the absurd price of beer (which I have accepted will never change). Show me a fruit stand where I can grab a banana, apple, grapes or, goodness forbid, a bowl of vegetables, and that will “heighten” my game experience. Otherwise, my eyes and ears won’t care about any of it unless of course they start playing Tchaikovsky in which case they will have my “divided” attention.

    Now, Surly? He is just as intense as I am about the game + the rest of this stuff – music, graphics, etc… He is insane though, so, that is expected.

    • Hmmm…. classical music could work. There are a few choice pieces that would be awesome thundering through that fancy new speaker system they installed.

      • Clasical, a good song is ( for strings.)

        • Irish, I’m assuming you meant “Adaggio For Strings”? Great composition. Have you heard Tiesto’s version? That one’s pretty cool too if you like trance. Shut up, Jacob. I like everything.

          Bobby, check out Beethoven’s Egmont Overture. I’ve been wanting to make a metal version of that for years! Not exactly hockey music but a great piece altogether. Here’s a site to dig some kick ass classical music if you’re into it.

          http://www.kickassclassical.com/

    • Healthy food? Dude, there’s 150 places to eat downtown – Join Howard and I for a few inexpensive Bass Ale’s before the game and you won’t have to worry about 11 dollar Heineken’s.

      You might want to think about the phrase, “My wife leaves me alone for 20 minutes post game until I come back to earth”. It kind of implies that porn is involved.
      :)

  6. You act like all they play is top 40 bubble gum – BEP, Bieber, Katy Perry. This is what I heard recently:

    Heavy – Collective Soul – Rock
    Uprising – Muse – Alternative
    Burn it to the Ground – Nickleback – Rock
    Hammerhead – Offspring – Alternative
    Kick in the Teeth – Papa Roach – Alternative
    The Fixer – Pearl Jam – Rock
    Devour – Shinedown – Rock
    Joker and the Thief – Wolfmother – Rock

    The music part is truly selective and will NEVER please everyone….EVER.

    However, the marketing and media is a different story. I agree that it is APPALLING that they are using the same, stale slogan for the 3rd or 4th year in a row. After the hooplah of the summer signings, the expectations of this team, we’ll go with the slogan that brings back memories of 1st round exit in playoffs. This makes me believe that we will see again this year the Sleeping Beauty Castle, and the same weak few balloons, bouncy house, beer garden and white towel when we make the playoffs.

    I wanted Demo’s because I was strictly interested in the Demo’s and if you have access to any of the survey results, in particular on the in-house entertainment and marketing.

    • None of those bands are metal. WE WANT METAL! Metal resonates as the best music for hockey. EA Sports tries to use metal, but they use sucky power metal that then also gets regurgitated at games for some bullshit notion of synergy between the two.

      Pearl Jam is good, Muse is good. Offspring can be good sometimes. Collective Soul is nice at times… the rest… well lets just say that Papa Roach should never be played anywhere.

      Of course you can’t please everyone, otherwise there wouldn’t be different genres of music. However the music should cater to the sport, and rap and R&B are in no way something that rings out ‘hockey’. Metal is, and therefore it should be played. The music should match the intensity. Again, in my own personal poking around (I ask this question to a ton of people), and the resounding note is that the old timers want classic rock and the younger folk want metal.

      Every time I see a Pens or Hawks game on TV, I can hear “Cowboys from Hell” playing in the background. I’ve never heard it at Staples. Other arena’s get it, but since we are in LaLa land we get more music from KROQ (which caters to 12 year olds) than music that actually fits the attitude of the sport we are watching.

      • Oh, OK….metal! Hahaha! I’m sure that 13% 45-54% female want that too. (I’m in that demo btw). I’ll give you that Surly, they don’t MIX in enough metal, but I hope you don’t think the majority of music will EVER be metal. Perhaps they don’t want to rile the masses into metal hysteria? They are just saving YOU, Surly! :)

      • Yesssssssss metal, avenged seven fold, slipknot, as I lay dieing, all that remains, 5 finger death punch, bleading through, atreyu, metalica ( old ) sepultura, lamb of god, fear factory, bullet for my valentine, etc etc etc

      • If your idea of metal is Pantera and Slayer, you are an old timer. My idea of metal is Priest and Sabbath which I suppose makes me even more of an old timer than you. Personally, I would like to hear some friggin Haircut 100 and Thompson Twins at the game – that’s how I get the ladies in the mood. It might work for the Kings.

      • Offspring – Bad Habit, unedited would be pretty sweet.

  7. Well, a few things to add.

    Music, no matter how terrible it may be, is set up for a reason the way it is. It is A) to draw the casual observer, but more “importantly,” it is for the younger demographic that the Kings marketing dept. is trying to go after.

    Let us realize something; the Kings marketing dept. knows that the loyal die hards will most likely remain die hards, so they are not trying to appease them as much. Their appeasement is with a better on ice product because that is what we want as a whole. The music and other stuff is for newer, younger fans. I compare it to a party, or as a better example, a bar or strip club you frequent quite often. You always come back for the product or the experience, even if you have to put up with the drunken slob yelling or one or two ugly chicks out of the lineup of 10. The overall good should negate the few bad things.

    While completely subjective, if you remember back last year, there was a guy who traveled and watched all the NHL teams in a little over 30 days I think. Where did Staples Center rate to him? Top 5 if I’m not mistaken.

    While there could be minor changes here and there, I don’t know exactly what the big problem is, having been to a few Kings games in person. Could things change a bit? Sure, but if you are expecting some major changes, I would have to counter that you will never be pleased because if (hypothetically speaking) every change you would want implemented to make you happy did happen, then there would be that many more who would hate the change and there would be that many more unhappy customers.

    I judge my experience based on the product and the mood of the crowd. Usually (the past few years anyways) this has been above par.

    • You make some very good points, especially about them knowing the die hards will come no matter what. However I take it as an affront for our demographic to be somewhat shunned just because they know I will come to watch the team. It makes me bitter.

      What I will say should change is how cheesy some of it is. Poor production value is just inexcusable in this town. I echo strongly Ben’s point about the special effects used in the pregame videos. Everyone at Staples Center laughs at it. A cheap copy of After Effects and two quick college courses and you could create better VFX. If you can’t produce something that is held to a high standard, perhaps it shouldn’t be produced at all. Kings Visions video are SUPERBLY edited. So those can stay because they meet a level of a high standard. Much of the other stuff does not.

      • I will agree with you on the graphic portions (graphics portions?). They are cheesy and lame, and only a 6 year old could appreciate that. I doubt that is the demographic they are looking for with that ;)

        As far as the being bitter part, I understand both sides. I know it makes a fan feel bitter, but not only does winning solve most of those feelings, but the continual jersey change still has the die hards buying new jerseys.

        They use us, while we use them for our enjoyment.

    • I agree with you only partly on your points but believe you’re missing the big picture.

      To begin we’re not looking to attract or draw any casual observers. They’re already at the game! We’re looking to make them come back. We want them to become a part of the family, not simply say, “Yeah, I went to a Kings game last night. It was cool.” We want them to fall in love with the entire experience. It’s not a secret it’s costly to attend a game. We want them to WANT to come back to the arena and spend that hard earned money.

      The music and the other stuff is NOT solely for the newer generation of hockey fans anyway. It’s for everyone in attendance. The overall good, in this case, is subjective to your opinion. No offense, but as a marketing professional I would be more concerned with keeping my repeat customers happy before someone who has only been to a “few Kings games in person.” Even with that, I would still want to rock your world with the entire experience (not just the music) to turn your “handful of games” into season tickets.

      I remember the guy from last year who hit all of the arenas. I remember thinking how much I would want to do that. I also remember he rated the arenas based on a number of criteria including food selection, prices, ease of navigation, the actual people, viewing areas and others. These are not in the realm of what I’m contending here so his opinion on the arena is null in this conversation.

      I COMPLETELY agree with you in regards to the minor changes. That is all I would like to do but it has to be done masterfully. There’s no reason to change the entire thing, simply make some tweaks to take advantage of what we have available to us. My changes aren’t ones to make me happy on a personal level. I’m not happy until the rest of the league looks upon this organization with envy, period. That starts with making as many Kings fans, new, old, die hard or casual, CRAVE the hockey season in Los Angeles.

      • I understand your points. You would know that depending on the market and the customer base, some products will have a following no matter what, versus other products that people will pick and choose depending on a number of circumstances.

        For instance, I’m sure you nor anyone else here eats the same exact thing every day. Some people may have their favorite restaurants, but if things go badly a couple times in a row, they will probably find a new restaurant to go to. With so many options to choose from, these markets must market themselves in such a way to draw and keep a customer. There are many more examples of this, I don’t want to get into a marketing discussion with a marketer, I’m sure you know this.

        As far as sport franchises go, I think it is somewhat split. Teams that have a solid existence, meaning have been around for a long time, generally keep fans loyalty no matter what. Sure the casual fan will lose interest, I give that. Take the Raiders for example. They obviously suck. But Raider Nation is still crazy. And there are several other examples as well.

        Now as far as you saying you’d rather keep the return customer happy versus the casual fan, I’d have to say yes and no. You keep the return customer happy with the product itself, which in this case is hockey. That is the most important aspect. How do you draw in fans who either do not like hockey (for whatever reason, whether they’ve never seen it, have a bad perception, biases, etc.)? Through gimmicks, atmosphere, music, visuals, fan interaction, etc. (as far as in game experience goes).

        I think we can agree changes need to be made, but I think you will find a lot of die hard fans have been fans through thick and thin. I don’t think they need to be appeased as much through the gimmicky stuff as opposed to the team on ice. It’s the casual fan that you want to make into a die hard, or at least a continually paying customer that will really draw the money in.

        That’s my opinion anyway.

        • I didn’t say I would “rather” keep return customers happy versus the casual fan. I said I’d be more concerned with keeping my repeat customers happy. I know that’s small by way of what was actually written but it makes a tremendous difference in the way that statement should be interpretted.

          I get what you’re saying on every level, though. You make some very valid points. The only thing we would not want to do is put any energy into drawing in fans who already have a dislike for the sport. We would want to put our energy and facilities into heightening the overall experience of being a part of this family. Doesn’t need to be gimmicky at all, just well thought out and executed.

          Picture going to a concert of your favorite band. For the sake of fair comparison, this band should be one with the energy and intensity of the sport of hockey. Now picture sitting in that arena and the entire package isn’t tailored to make a cohesive overall experience that reflects the band’s performance and music. We’d still buy the albums but man, their show sucked! Dig what I’m saying? It’s not about gimmicks and smoke and mirrors. It’s about putting together a cohesive show that reflects and compliments the reason we were there in the first place.

  8. Ridiculous rant and rave. Agreed that some of the cheesiness could be scaled back, but ultimately the Kings have to go after the younger fan base to keep strong for years to come. If you think the soldier/kingdom aspect of the opening performance is was made for adults then you need some help. Stop being so myopic in your views with the whole Kings experience and realize they have all demographics to go after. The Kings already have you locked into your seat and you’re going regardless. Btw, on the “free t-shirts” aspect, I would never stand up or try to catch one, but notice people go crazy. People also start chanting when Bailey hits the drum (to my surprised). Casual fans love that stuff.

    As far as advertising goes, why in the world would a company spend all that money when their product is already in high demand and selling out?! Instead they’ve put the money into the team and players. GREAT JOB KINGS MANAGEMENT AND THANK YOU.

    People, stop complain just to be complaining. Nobody likes whiners.

    • You’re outlook is that when something is popular you stop worrying about marketing?

      Well…. let’s just say that NOBODY in the advertising business believes that.

      As for the T-Shirts, people go crazy when they are told to go crazy and when offered free ANYTHING. Doesn’t make it right.

      Yes you have to appeal to children, but things like the way in which the Kings take the ice shouldn’t be one of them. My biggest gripe with the medieval door they go through is that it ruins David Courtney’s iconic introduction of the team.

      “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, YOU’RE LOS ANGELES KINGS!”

      Yes, he still says it, but we have already seen the team at this point because of the video of the stupid door. In my opinion, the team shouldn’t be seen until they hit the ice and Courtney’s announcement should herald that moment. Its iconic, its been done for YEARS, and that stupid castle thing changes a tradition. I would hope that we can all at least agree that TRADITION shouldn’t be changed for the sake of catering to children.

      • Nope, that’s not my outlook, but I also don’t think billboards are the greatest source of sports marketing. I doubt any other SoCal team had any more than the Kings did last year and this is with the Angels owner owning most of the billboards around the area… so why increase them unless seeing returns from them?! Which guess what, the Kings marketing experts (not you or me) would know that answer.

        As far as entering the ice, there has always been something that gives you “notice” the team is coming onto the ice whether it be cameras showing them walking from the locker room, smoke, music change, etc. The doors don’t change anything whatsoever and people make the most noise once he says that and gets on the ice. And also, now the Kings actually make money (good for them) off the entrance due to the Under Armour sponsorship.

        The fact that these things bug you is sad. Do the Kings marketing department get everything right?! Obviously not and they’ll always be adjusting, but they should be looking out for the greater good and best bang for their buck… which I’m sure is what they’re already doing.

    • I never said anything needs to be made explicitly for adults. Please don’t add subtext to my ridiculous rant and rave.

      I do have the realization that we have to appease all demos involved. That could come from my decade of experience in the business.

      I’m sorry you believe the crowd goes crazy because of the tee shirt itself. That’s simply not the case. See Ivan Pavlov.

      Yes, people start chanting when Bailey hits the drum but a rabid crowd chants without cue.

      In respect to advertising, why the hell does Nike still advertise? For that matter, why does Coke, McDonalds, WalMart, Chevron, Disney, Ford, Microsoft, Apple, B of A or any other of the Fortune 500? Please find some clarity in your thinking before qualifying them to be posted in a public forum.

      • I do think in the entertainment capital of the world, the experience should be unique to LA that gives it a “WOW!” factor, and aside from the video guys work that you mentioned, some of it can be very campy for being in Hollywood, but over all I’m happy. I do enjoy my experience, but wouldn’t mind seeing something I’ve never seen before, if it’s possible. Wouldn’t mind seeing it stay the same though, so I’m probably the worst guy to say anything.

  9. Been saying it for years, we have the worst music played in all of sports, especially the “Hey Hey Hey” goal song. It’s sad considering we had the best music played at The Forum.

  10. I think we can all agree on a majority of the changes needed as far as die hards go. I myself am a visual person, not so much a sound person, so I could care less about the music, so I’ll leave that to other people to discuss.

    What I would suggest is to ask a non Kings fan, or a casual fan who has only been to one or two games at Staples, and ask what they enjoyed most about the game.

    I’d be willing to bet it wasn’t the game itself, it was all the hoopla surrounding it.

    I compare it to the Lakers. Most die hard fans can’t even afford to go to games, and the few that can are up in the 300’s. The rest of us watch from home. No die hard fan really cares that Jack or Dianne Keaton, Kim Khardasian, etc. are at the games. But you know who does? The wife, the girlfriend, possibly the casual observer. “Oh, that’s cool, Jack’s at the game.” I kind of got off track here, but the point is there are things die hards will dislike no matter what, but looking at it from the micro and macro scale, if one girlfriend decides she wants to buy a jersey based off not only her boyfriend, but the “magical” feel associated with the team or venue, whether it be the celebrities, the atmosphere, the fun feeling family atmosphere maybe as well, then on the macro level, all these sales and new “fans” = $.

    I hate to hear players and GM’s and coaches say, “This is a business.” Fuck you. I want to live in my fantasy world where this is for the love of the game, the goal was scored because I tapped my seat twice, coughed once, and took two shots of Jager all within 10 seconds, not because the guy just happened to be lucky enough / skilled enough to score the goal. But the cold reality is it’s all about money.

    Like I said, it would be interesting to hear what a few casual fans, or a couple people who have only been once or twice and know little if any about the Kings have to say about their experience.

    • That would be awesome. Afterwards, I’d like to send them to Montreal, Boston, Vancouver, Philly and Chicago and have them rate them all. If we’re going to compare, let’s compare apples to apples.

      I want those people who’ve only gone to one or two games to WANT to go repeatedly – not just be happy with the few times they’ve already gone.

      • Well if you personally are sending them, send me along as a fan, and we can compare and contrast our findings. I’m sure it can be done with sponsorship, and I’d be willing to bet a lot of NHL teams would learn a lot from this info :)

        • Wouldn’t that be awesome? Talk about a dream job!

          • Yeah. We should pitch a show to the Discovery Channel. Visiting the most famous stadiums in the states and/or the world. It would start out with an overall panoramic of the structure, the field, etc. Then the game itself. All the wild fans. A couple interviews, the food, the sights and sounds, etc.

            That would be my dream job, even if I was just holding the boom mic the whole time.

  11. Well thought out article. I personally am too busy having fun to notice all the lackluster stuff going on. Definately would love more metal in the music mix (and Papa Roach is just fine with me). Call me cheesy, but during the hey song, I’m too busy shouting hey to hate it. During the I love LA song, I’m too busy high fiving everybody around me. When the Make some noise 2nd rate graphics pop up on the screen, I’m too busy making some fucking noise!

    On the way in, Im admiring all the Kingsfans and saying to myself “this is fucking great”, and wishing everyday could be like this one. I get goose bumps when they turn out the lights and the strobes light up to songs like streets with no name. When someone Yells “LET’S GO KIIIIINNNGGGSS!” I instantly join them. Hell! even being outside with LA Live is a great wonderment that I never get bored of.

    Wrap all that up and add beer, and a Hockey game, and I”m in absolute heaven. There are things that could make the experience even greater, but I’m probably to simple minded to notice. I’m probably the corniest guy out there, but when I’m on my way home, I’m already longing for the next time I can do it.

    • If you love it that much, my version would give you home with a heart attack! Trust me, I love my Kings. I effin’ LOVE my Kings, just like you, my friend.

      • I kind of added to that above. I would be all for a change, if it enhanced things, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin myself.

  12. I think they’re doing an ok job. When I go to games and they got the video production on the ice it’s cool. It’s entertaining and that’s how I think it should be. Hockey in So CA? It doesn’t even snow here! I think the team even getting started 40+ years ago was a Huge milestone.

    With the video stuff, blasting tshirts, period break shenanigans is just entertainment. I think the Kings have been here so long that everyone in LA and surrounding counties already know who they are. Winning the Cup is going to be the ultimate marketing tool imo. A buddy of mine really started getting into hockey after the 92-93 season.

    Can’t say for sure but hell when the Ducks came out to the OC I’m pretty sure 85%+ of the people there didn’t know what the hell offsides, icing, two line pass was. But those bastards won a cup And they went to the finals twice. People want to back a Winning team and because those dumbasses have actually won it I think they’re fans believe they can do it again.

    We’ve been here for 40+ years and we’ve paved the way for the other CA teams. We paid our dues and carved our niche here in LA where it’s always sunny. We are the leaders out here in these parts and we should have won at least one Cup by now. But I think for the most part yeah we’re gonna have our “hardcore” fan base and then we’re going to have those people who maybe would be categorized as bandwagoners. But who really gives a shit? So the bandwagoners might go away maybe some will convert to “hardcore fan” status?

    My point is that the Kings need to win a championship to truly legitimize they’re presence here. We can have all the coolest and greatest marketing gimmicks but if they only get to the 1st round of the playoffs and get knocked off does anyone really care about the marketing and music? Instead of banging down the doors for more “quality” marketing shit bang down DL or AEG’s door constantly saying we’re tired of this mediocrity bullshit and we want a fucking real cup contending team!!!! Which they’re putting together now but it wouldn’t hurt to send DL or AEG an email or two saying that We, the “hardcore fans” want the fucking Cup in our house and that GD banner hanging saying we won the whole thing. Make DL Earn his pay. Cause him grief and bug his ass letting him know that “We want the fucking Cup so get to work and don’t fuck it up!” But I think DL’s done a pretty good job until now so hopefully it’s only a matter of time.

    2011-2012 LA KINGS – STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS!!!!!

  13. Oh the beer league comment was hilarious. Maybe I’ve been playing at the wrong rink!! :D

  14. In response to Ben, valid points. The question (and the subsequent discussion) what would that cohesive show, in this case for the Kings, would entail?

    As others have said, I think they need to step their game up as far as the visuals go. If they can make the video pitch for BR, and it be as stunning as it supposedly was, they should be able to have the best of the best coming up with some visual stunners. I’m not just talking the lighting, but the overall visual aspects, including the walkout of the tunnel. The music will always be subjective, so a mix is the only way to try and appease a diverse crowd. But visuals are visuals, and they can do a better job with it.

    Call me weird, but I actually feel they should have a live band in house to perform during time outs, etc. It will keep the excitement level up. Make it in one of the corners of the 300’s. I don’t know the proper name of the design, but you know in old theaters how the honored guests had their own bowl section, make a small section like that for them.

    What makes soccer great in my eyes (I hate the sport don’t get me wrong) is the craziness of the fans, and more specifically their fight songs. Even the NY Jets fight song. Its unique, and it sets them apart from the competition. The Go Kings Go, or Lets Go Kings, while it has its place, is not an identity; everyone says that. You want to feel apart of something, make a short fight song or a few words even and I guarantee fans will be belting it out because they will feel apart of it all, that their one voice bellowing with the thousands of others will create an aura of awesomeness.

    Find one guy to do the national anthem. Quit the revolving door of people. One guy, a bellowing opera voice that sets the stage for the rest of the night.

    I also enjoyed the salute the players gave to the fans after the game. Say what you want, but it feels nice to be appreciated by them physically showing appreciation for our love, not just saying it. Afterall, actions speak louder than words.

    All in all, I think if they market more towards the heart and not towards the gimmicks, they can develop an even stronger following of loyal fans who will fill the seats, drink the beer, and lose their voices yelling out passionately for the team they love.

    (Sidenote: I found it interesting re-reading this that I started in one place and ended up somewhere completely else.)

    • Now we’re talking!


      All in all, I think if they market more towards the heart and not towards the gimmicks, they can develop an even stronger following of loyal fans who will fill the seats, drink the beer, and lose their voices yelling out passionately for the team they love.

      You’re getting it, brother. It’s a philosophy, not a method.

      The live band thing is a great idea but would be better utilized outside before the game. That or a DJ accompanied by a couple Ice Crew members. Don’t ever give up seat revenue for entertainment. MUCH MUCH more can be done outside before you enter the arena. More on that later.

      Creating a fight song is a great idea but actually getting the entire arena to grab onto one is more daunting than you may think. The 300’s would own it but the rest of the arena would take some work. Would be nice though, huh? We had one in the Army that scared the crap out of people because we sang it so loudly.

      One person to do the National Anthem has shown to be effective in places like Philly but I don’t think LA is ready for something like that. Look at how much people have shown a distaste for every kind of music that has been offered up. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Davis Gaines. Saw him in NY and had a chat with him in Staples but I don’t think it would go over well if he sang at EVERY home game. Angelinos are far too picky in that department.

      The salute the players did last year for the very short period they actually did it was Dustin Brown’s idea. It was great but faded QUICKLY, which left me feeling kind of upset about the whole thing. It’s such a nice gesture and everyone I spoke to about it appreciated it probably more than the players realized. On the same token, the sticks they give out after the game is a great idea, only they’re not the player’s real sticks. Although a great idea and absolutely awesome they give them to kids, they should be their real sticks. They’re free for the players. It wouldn’t hurt.

      As for how we actually pull it off? Well, we’ll just have to wait until my proposal is finished and in the hands of the Kings. I’ll post all of it at that point, step by step. Until then, keep it plugged into S&S. I’m sure I’ll be writing a follow up to this one soon. Next on my list, the dreaded Under Armour door we all hate so much. That is if Jacob doesn’t beat me to it. Ask him about it and watch what happens. It’s awesome.

  15. While I agree with a lot of the original article … I can’t say I enjoyed reading it.

    As far as the marketing and in-game experience goes … I know all of our marketing standards are higher than the rest of the country due to where we live…. and the in-game graphics packages are embarrassing year in and year out.

    I like the free shirts … while I never jump to get them.. I love the smiles on kids faces when a Dad passes a newly caught shirt to his kid… it’s charming and a great part of the game as far as I’m concerned.

    The music … while off the mark… is hardly offensive.

    The lasers … over the top… and a waste of money.

    In all my years of working in marketing I can say that … you can analyze the shit out of something as much as you want … but the true nature of the person that created it always… ALWAYS comes through. and THAT is where the Kings organization fails almost every year.

    It’s like they hire people who don’t care about the Kings (or worse, hockey in general), to cater to those of us who do.

    I’ve seen it again and again. The people who have access to the jobs that exert creative influence over the marketing departments almost always invariably found the job through a friend of theirs within the organization. .. never mind that they were working in HR or worse, accounting.

    These people are excited to get jobs in a creative field yet have a huge emotional disconnect with the brand they’re now promoting.

    It’s two bad tastes that taste shitty together.

    The closest the Kings came to anything remotely emotionally resonate was 2 seasons ago when they opened with a historical retrospective of the Kings through the years… Even THEN the graphics were so bad they killed the experience.

    One of the things I didn’t like about the original article was it was all bitching and no suggestions … and I just did that myself…. gotta get back to the newborn.

  16. I totally agree with Surly Jacob! I wish the fan experience was more exciting. I lived in LA for 11 years and went to hundreds of games, then moved up here to Vancouver for work two years ago.

    I’ve since found myself going to lots of Canucks games (excuse me while I puke in my mouth!!!) and I have to admit they do a way, way, way better job of putting on a great show.

    And it all begins with with the pre-game show, which sets the tone for the rest of the game. They play U2’s ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ (which I never really realized but is a perfect song for this sort of thing) that builds and builds and builds up to an epic crescendo, while showing really exciting video footage of Canucks throughout the decaes. And even though I HATE the Canucks, by the time the players line up for the anthems, I’m standing up (in my purple and gold of course!) cheering my ass off with my Canuck friends! It’s such an emotional, powerful, exciting moment.

    I’ve been to games all across the league and I’m frustrated to admit it, but the Canucks really do the best job I’ve seen. I mean, when you can give fans of the opposing team goosebums from your pre-game show, you know you are doing something right!

    Michael

  17. So many points….good ones at that. I know this is a business but give me a break.

    The way the game is presented in LA I have a long list of complaints so let me start with the positive:

    We finally have a decent team, again; A team that’s been consistently interesting for three years running and continues on an upswing. In the past Kings teams were so poor that many fans had no idea what a tightly wound hockey game looked like. Now a good number of the games are worth the price of admission.

    OK, the rest:

    a) Fan to fan interaction:
    Go to a game in MSG.
    Fans talk hockey standing around the hot dog tables, sitting in the stands, walking into the arena and walking the stair tunnels.
    Go to a game in Utah’s E-Center
    Music blares, advertising overwhelms and t-shirts fly and it like everyone is alone, together…like Staples.
    Go to a game at Staples
    It’s like the E-Center only more pricy, more traffic and a better grade of hockey.

    b) The constant uniform changes isolate fans into subgroups.
    What rational person in Goth Black wants to talk to some geezer in Gold? It’s not a party unless everyone parties together. How can fans be united if they don’t wear the same sweaters? Remember those stupid 2002 Olympic berets; They looked great as long as everyone was wearing one.

    To put it another way:
    King Management to Older Fans: “Fuck you sucker; your days are done, now pay up, bend over and act like you like it.”

    c) Black? Black?
    With a friggin logo slapped on the front that could have come from a comic book or cereal box?
    If you had a friend who changed names as often as the Kings change jerseys you’d be checking to see if he missed his meds.

    d) Advertising
    The advertising activity and commercial noise inside the arena has risen to the level of Utah’s E-Center where the Grizzlies Play. It’s childish, annoying, distracting and demeaning with a hockey game somewhere in the background.

    As for external advertising:
    Last year it was great to visit LA and see a huge Wayne Simmonds bill board on the side of the freeway. There was never any advertising when I lived in LA but I recall with pride when people who never heard of hockey approached me to talk and ask about the Lake Placid Olympics.

    When you step back and look it amounts to one thing only…running a product into the ground…good team or not.

    e) LA is a bandwagon town.
    If the train ain’t rolling you won’t find any stars at the Station. Always been that way.

  18. 18,118 Folks in the audience: some die-hards, some novitiates; some hardcore rockers, some emos, some redneck honky tonk aficionados; some black, some white, some red, some yellow (none purple); some old, some young; some married, some single; some kids, some parents; some lawyers, some plaintiffs, some defendants; some corporate jackasses; some hip underemployed …ain’t everybody gonna be happy.

    Hell, if the CONTENT is such that one group loves it, that’s bad — too many others would hate it. Best if everybody like some but complains about the whole.

    Don’t make the mistake of marketing to yourself — you’ll miss the bigger bigger market, real scale, and true money.

    Now, the production values…they suck.

    Me: 46, male, white, single but in a long term committed relationship, long time casual watcher of the sport come back to watch it seriously now, definitely a corporate jackass…I thought I had reasonably broad musical tastes — until I bought Rob Zombie, Papa Roach, and Lady Gaga after hearing them in the Kings program. ANd, there’s some stuff that makes my skin crawl too. I think they do OK balancing the content.

    Now, the production values….they REALLY suck.

    You’ll disagree — but I think that actually supports my position…

    Now, the production values…THEY REALLY, TRULY SUCK

  19. Remember the classic line from the movie “Field of Dreams?” “IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME”. I’d like to think that I’m as big of a fan as most guys on this blog, and yes, I too think the music during games is nothing short of brutal, but I don’t think I’m on the same page as most of you guys here. You want a bigger fan base? I highly doubt Pantera between whistles is going to bring that. It’s as simple as offering a good product to the consumer. Never once have I stumbled out of Staples after big win saying, “He’ll ya, what a game! But that damn Black Eyed Peas song really ruined it for me!” Being born and raised in So. Cal, I hate to say it, but we all know how ” fair-weather” this town can be when it comes to sports. Like the old saying goes, “Winning fixes everything”. If the Kings win the Cup next year and nothing changes as far as production value of the lame video segments, I guarantee this post, or ones similar will be looked back on and laughed at. With that said, thanks for giving me an interesting read while I wait for ANY Kings news!

    • I agree. The team makes the fans come, not the fluff surrounding it, which is precisely why it is for us, those who always go to games and why i don’t like appeasing the lowest common demoninator. Do the Black Eyed Peas ruin games? No, of course not. But this is about enhancing, striving for the best, and if you can’t please everyone, or if you insist on appealing to the lowest common demoninator, the least you could do is do it well, and I feel the Kings presentation team falls short in this regard. I want something with more artistic drive and expertise in craft than the goofy laser light show and visual effects that are on par with a terrible low budget sci fi film. If AEG can do Chronicles of Narnia, they can certainly do better than the C-movie version of the soldiers of Mordor marching against Brown/Gandalf.

      I would like to feel that these things come from creative and talented people, not the feel that is has, which is that stuffed suits are hiring entry level designers to carry out their silly ideas. Maybe I’m wrong and this is not the case, but if there truly is a creative type and not a business type behind the pre game show, then I would have to say they hired the wrong person.

      Attracting a larger fan base is the job of the on ice product. The off ice product to me, is there to enhance it for those who come and for me, they only manage to distract from the on ice product at best.

      • It could be worse. As a 13 yr old kid, I remember going to the 1st ever Ducks game at the pond (take it easy, a friend invited me and it was free). As the opening act, they had this ridiculous over-sized Duck zip line down from the rafters on figure skates and try to skate through a ring of fire. Here’s a news flash, fire and ice don’t mix. This stupid duck knocked the ring over and caught his leg on fire. The fire ring ruined the ice and caused a 30 min delay in the game while they fixed the melted ice. So just think, it’s not nearly as bad as it could be.

  20. This was a great read and you couldn’t of hit the mark anymore solid.

    These T-shirts are cool but they almost never make their way up to the 300 level where the die hard fans are. They always seem to be in the bottom level where the money is.

    The music does not get me amped to watch my team go to war. I want to feel like I am the one stepping on the ice and feel the energy from the crowd. This needs to be addressed this season.

    When I am at a game I want to hear the crowd roar. Last years playoff games were pretty loud and to see the crowd leave their seats at the same time when we scored was a fantastic site to see. The ptide in the stadium was electric and fans were throwing high fives as if we had been friends for years.

    Better giveaways, better music, and way better promotion of our team throughout LA and OC. We need people to feel that they are missing something if they do not go to the game or watch it on TV.

  21. Iron Maiden… nuff said

  22. An addition 2 cents – I doubt seriously if you polled 18,000 Kings’ fans at a game and gave them a choice of music, “metal” would be anywhere near the top of the list. Rock (be it classic rock, 80’s and 90’s rock or whatever qualifies today as rock + select top 40) is likely what people want to hear. Now, I have no “favorite” type of music and although I do listen to Metallica when I work out, “metal” as defined by Surly is nowhere on my list. If I was the music director and could do whatever I want, you would hear Fleetwood Mac, Doors, Eagles, CCR, Elton John, Journey, etc. mixed in with STP, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Vandals, Foo Fighters, complimented by Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Rossini, etc. and a little John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Nat King Cole, Muddy Waters and, what the hell, maybe even Kurt Elling. Black Eyed Peas? Don’t even know what that is and sounds disgusting to eat.

    • I never defined metal. I mentioned Pantera and Sayer because they are popular AND I know for a fact that other arenas play their songs during hockey games, so I’m not pulling this out of my ass.

      Just wait till you sit up in the 300s this year Bobby. You don’t realize that sitting down in the 100s, you’ve never really seen the face of a large majority of King fans.

    • Kings old song they use to listen to in their locker room before games was The Trooper

  23. 1) JBL system in, Bose crap system out – maybe we can actually HEAR what Dustin Brown is saying on the jumbotron.

    2) Dance for your dinner – stupid

    3) Bubble Cam – good for a few laughs

    4) Bailey and his stupid drum – really?

    5) 11 dollar beers? Go across the street BEFORE the game

    6) If you’re worried about what MUSIC they’re playing, then you’re not focused on hockey. It’s like looking at a Playboy for the articles.

    7) Shooting crappy T-Shirts out of a cannon – sucks, cause they can never reach the 300 section and are they even IN the 300 section? You know, where the people who actually could USE a T-Shirt are sitting?

    8) Kiss Cam – older than my VCR

    9) Food at Staples – Lack of places to sit in the arena so you can ENJOY your meal = I get downtown early and grab a meal anywhere BUT Staples

    10) Hyde is a lot of fun during Kings games, complete crap during Laker games.

    11) People in the LA Team Store with an I above 12 – Seriously, how long does it take to scan my merchandise, bag it, and print a credit card receipt. I once missed an entire period due to their incompetence.

    12) Change the TV timeouts? Why do we need them at 13, 9 and 5 minutes? Why not just one LONG one at the 10 minute mark so I can actually make it back to my seat after I pee.

    13) FREE programs! The fricken DUCKS give ‘em away, the Kings don’t even have player CARDS anymore – cheap f***ks.

    14) REGULAR USHERS!!! Nothing is more annoying than having to show your stupid ticket every single time to some idiot who doesn’t know who you are! Don’t you LIKE saying hello to your regular usher?

    15) TOSS THE IDIOTS – It’s bad enough that when any team from Canada, or the Rangers and especially the bandwagon Red Wings comes to town, their fans show up in droves. What’s even worse is when they get out of control and the Red Coats/Cops do NOTHING about it. Over in Nazi land (Ducks), you say “DAMN!” and they’re tossing you out (well, Kings fans anyway) – can we PLEASE start tossing Vancouver fans out on their asses just for wearing that ugly flying V.

  24. to quote gladiator…sorta… ARE WE NOT ENTERTAINED? WTF guys i enjoy every game i go to(season ticket holder for 12 years). its not about in game entertainment its about the people i get to cheer with and the guys i get to cheer for. GO KINGS!

  25. My rant was not misguided.,

  26. I think a lot of us here are missing the big picture and focusing on one part of the puzzle, the music.

    It’s not entirely about the music and it’s a given you won’t please all of the people all of the time. That’s not the point of the article nor my contention. Focusing on only one part of a puzzle like this particular one will, as we have seen, produce disasterous results. Case in point, everyone’s focused on the music but no one’s seeing the overall value or importance of tying EVERYTHING together to produce an outstanding overall experience. It’s like going into a steak house and saying the whole place sucks because there was too much butter on your vegetables.

    Everyone pull back a little bit and imagine what it would be like to walk up to our house (Staples) to see a game but things are different. There are Kings banners outside and in LA Live. The screens in LA Live are playing Kings videos. The outside of Staples has 15′ x 100′ banners of our star players hanging from the edge of the roof facing Chick Hearn Ct. The Ice Crew is outside with giveaways for the kids, taking pictures with the fans as a DJ/band plays an array of music. You enter the lobby and there are some fan interaction areas where you can take pics with the kids/family, grab a poster and try your hand at a skills competition like in the all-star game. Bailey is mingling with fans, making the kids laugh, etc.

    Already your EXPERIENCE is a better one. You’ve just walked into something we now apparently take pride in, our Los Angeles Kings’ home! It’s an event now, not just a game. It’s BIG! Bigger than you but you are a part of it. You’re part of this family and there’s pride in that now more than ever. If you’ve never been here before, you start to think, “Damn, this is pretty sick! They don’t do this anywhere else in town.” You must be onto something special. You are. It’s called Kings hockey!

    You get your 12 million dollar beer but you’re more inclined to because the vibe has already started, die-hard or not. The energy is already building and almost palpable. You’re walking into something that’s going to be huge!

    We hear our fabulous David Courtney announce 15 minutes to game time. Walking through the short corridor towards your seats, the arena presents itself to you with a nice cold handshake. We find our spots, hands filled with food, drink and a giveaway or two for the kids. The smoke’s filling the arena. The lights are already a little bit lower than normal.

    With a deep thump of echoing bass through the new JBL’s, the lights go dark one by one. The ice overheads, house lights, wrap around screens and finally, with the loudest bass hit, the scoreboard goes black. In the background, music has been slowly increasing in volume as we all sit in the dark for a spell. The music builds to a slight crecendo and it’s on!

    The show that ensues is the most polished show you’ve seen for a while, not only from the Kings but anywhere. Your boys are flashing across the screen, larger than life. We revisit some of our greatest moments as an organization. There’s activity on the ice and up in the 300’s, the Ice Crew has unfurled a 50′ x 20′ Kings flag and the die-hards are passing it around over their heads.

    When the boys take to the ice, they’re greeted by us, 18,118 frenzied fans and yes, when the ice lights come back up, the house lights stay a little dimmer than normal. The other team? I wouldn’t say scared but intimidated would be my goal. You know you’re in the house of Kings. This is our home. You’re in for a battle tonight! Our boys? I’m going to say a greeting like that from us would have them pumped.

    It’s about pride in our family, ownership of the night, a tangible experience through a masterful production of ALL THINGS included, not just music…and this is only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to encompassing the entire night’s proceedings. The best part – there’s a hockey game in the middle of it all!

    • Incidentally, did you know that one of the reasons Staples has had sound issues is because of the Lakers? When Staples was built, the Lakers insisted on that cavern / dead area, which I believe is near / at the jerseys. That f’ed up the acoustics. That area sucks in the sound. That is the main reason they changed the acoustics. Because it wasn’t powerful enough to overcome the problem. If I had a picture of Staples and that area, I could show it to you. I heard this directly from an AEG executive who shall remain nameless.

      • If you don’t reveal a source everyonce in a while, someones going to missunderstand. Next thing you know, your going to have to write a whole 1,000 word essay, breaking down some random 2 letter word, that the rest of the world would see as, a random 2 letter word. LOL

    • I really want to go to THAT game!!!

    • You’ve got my vote for president.
      or, anything else you’re willing to run for.

  27. I caught a t-shirt in the nosebleeds back in 2000. I wore it for almost 5 years. It held up better than most of the cheap crap I buy from target and walmart. I miss that shirt. Maybe the IceCrew just prefers the sense of gratification that comes from hitting a target they can actually see.

  28. I’ve seen the Kings play in quite a few different arenas over the years, and I’d say that most of those other buildings made me feel a little bit jealous of the Hockey experience that the fans are treated to.
    It could be because I’m just visiting, and it is all new and I haven’t heard/seen the same thing hundreds of times before, so maybe it isn’t quite fair to compare the experience of a road game vs. your home arena experience. You know, the grass being greener and all…
    But, it seems like most other arenas are more focussed on celebrating their team and the game than Staples is.
    At Staples, I don’t feel any rush to get to my seat before the face-off, because I know I’d only be hurrying up to sit down and watch tv commercials and movie previews. Many other buildings at least have Hockey on the jumbotron; either games around the league or highlights from the night before, or even college/high school games. But I really appreciate the teams who put together a little pre-game fun to get you in the mood. My favorite, and probably the simplest, was video highlights of previous games between the two teams that were just about to play. It reminded the fans who was coming in, showed a bit of history, and gave a little rivalry feeling to the coming game, made you really want to boo those Kings when they came out. I wish I could remember who did that, but I can’t for the life of me.

    I felt like the Kings did a pretty good job during the playoffs these past two years, where everything from the time you were within sight of the arena felt like it was building up to the game, and by the time the team hit the Ice, the crowd was full of pride and ready to explode. But, I’ve seen other teams offer a similar feeling to their fans for a mid-season week night game, and that’s the part I get a little jealous of.
    I guess it has a lot to do with sharing the building with so many other teams, but it feels like it would only take 20 mins after a game to strip Staples of any evidence that a hockey game had ever been played there, and that is kinda sad.
    What would be so wrong (Beside the obvious, cost of changing the logo every 6mos) about putting some permanent Kings stuff up on/in/around the building they call home?

    As far as the music goes, every other stadium plays more appropriate music than ours. I didn’t say better, because I am not judging anyone who listens to crap on their own time. But, there is certain music and specific songs that just play well to energizing a sports crowd, and every sporting venue outside of Staples center understands that and knows which songs they are. Except, of course, if you are unfortunate enough to be in Calgary on one of their cowboy appreciation nights.
    But if you go down to watch warm ups, you’ll notice some of our favorite players’ lips moving and heads bobbing to the stuff we like to complain about the most. So, I’ve stopped asking anyone who will listen, “just who in the hell would ever want to hear this crap?”. I’ve got my answer, as disappointing as it was to find out.

    It could be better for the Hockey fans; but even with it’s flaws… I’d rather see Kings Hockey at Staples, than any other team in a more exciting building. And, I forget all about any complaints when they drop the puck.

    P.S.
    I can’t think of a building that didn’t play the “everybody clap your hands” bit, or throw out free t-shirts to crazed screaming fans.

  29. As an important note, the best way to better the experience is for the fans to be better – in other words, cheer the team on more / louder and start / get into the chants. If every fan put in what Surly & I (and I know some of you) do, the place would be deafening.

    • Every time I go to a game, the day after people know I went because I left my voice at the arena. They don’t even bother asking how I lost my voice anymore, just a simple, “How was the game last night?”

    • Just wait until the Kings win a Cup or two, the place will probably quiet down a lot with all the suits and money-people rolling in.

      • An average of 4 days a week, I am in a suit…has nothing to do with “suits” or “money people”. The quality of the fan comes in all shapes, sizes and attire.

        • It was said in somewhat jest, but there is truth to it as well.

          Which is why all the expensive seats are by and large the quietest areas to sit in.

        • In pretty much any sport. Football, basketball, baseball, hockey, etc. The loudest fans (and I think it would be fair to say the most passionate) are in the cheaper seats up high, which is why if ticket prices skyrocket, you will find less of those fans and more fans looking for a good night out as opposed to a good night out watching the team they love and are passionate about.

    • love it!!! bring on the noise! drown out the sh*tty music!!! go kings!!!

  30. I love this site… can’t imagine how cool it is during the season

  31. This would be my choice when Kings get on the ice..crapy quality couldn’t find better,sorry.

    Pendulum Self Vs Self in flames.

    • I like it. Maybe a little Soilwork to go with it.

      • Hmm I like, never heard them before.

        • I like the In Flames song for the guys skating out because there’s a long musical intro to allow the whole team to enter the ice before the vocals start. I picked a Static-X song earlier because the intro guitars are very distinct. If the Kings used it everytime the guys skated out it would become synonymous with them coming out. The distinct guitar riffs would wake everybody in the building up and get the juices flowing.

          I almost like Static-x’s I’m with stupid as a better song for achieving that, because even though there’s heavey guitars, there’s an almost techno rythem to it, but it starts out with Wayne saying “He’s a loser” before the music starts. Not something you want when the guys first skate out.

  32. Turn down the noise. I would like to be able to carry on a conversation during the TV timeouts with the person next to me without having to scream in their ear.

    I’m with Zad, more 1812 Overture would be kind of cool.

    And yeah, stay the **** off my lawn.

  33. Wow. I can’t believe I read this. I have to completely disagree with pretty much everything. What kind of experience are you looking for? I’ve been to other arenas to see games, and I can say that the Staples experience is the best I’ve had. Have you been to a game at the Honda Center? Their pregame video this year was your typical highlights montage set to a decently upbeat piece of music, shown on one screen up in the corner of the arena, visible to only 65% of the people there. Their entertainment between periods was just as bad. Are you so jaded from being in the LA area that you demand blockbuster graphics/production at a hockey game?
    As for the music, try going to a basketball game. Or a footbal game. It’s 10 times worse. Would I prefer to hear something else? Yes. Would anyone else like it? Probably not. Is it better than rap/hip-hop? Hell yes. Is it loud? I guess that would depend on what you compare it to.
    The give-aways are standard for pretty much every team in hockey. Again I ask, what more do you want?

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