Fans ar­mour them­selves in Knights gear

Edmonton Journal - - SPORTS - GRE­GORY STRONG

The Ve­gas Golden Knights are prov­ing to be as pop­u­lar at the mer­chan­dise ta­ble as they are in Sin City.

The NHL ex­pan­sion team has been a hot ticket all sea­son at TMo­bile Arena and that has con­tin­ued dur­ing the Golden Knights’ deep play­off run. With goalie Mar­cAn­dre Fleury’s jer­sey lead­ing the way in sales, Golden Knights gear is also fly­ing off the shelves.

Spe­cific num­bers weren’t im­me­di­ately avail­able, but Nirva Milord, the NHL’s se­nior di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said the team’s over­all North Amer­i­can sales have been strong.

“The Ve­gas Golden Knights are in the top five in merch sales all sea­son,” she said Tues­day in an email. “Marc-An­dre Fleury is tops among play­ers in play­offs merch sales.”

Few hockey ob­servers pre­dicted Ve­gas would roll through the cam­paign and top­ple the Los An­ge­les Kings and San Jose Sharks in the first two rounds of the play­offs.

Marvin Ryder, a mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sor at Mc­Mas­ter Uni­ver­sity in Hamil­ton, feels there are sev­eral rea­sons for the strong sales, in­clud­ing the lack of com­pe­ti­tion from other top sport leagues in Las Ve­gas and the fact hockey fans and young­sters will flock to any­thing new when it comes to gear.

But where the fran­chise re­ally de­liv­ered, Ryder said, was with the cre­ation of a modern, pow­er­ful logo cou­pled with an at­trac­tive colour scheme.

“Ul­ti­mately it’s how the fans em­brace it,” Ryder said. “In this case, I’m go­ing to say it’s more about (be­ing) lucky. You had all the pieces, but they got them right the very first day. That’s the un­usual part of the story. Nor­mally it takes longer for the teams to find that com­bi­na­tion of per­for­mance and the right-look­ing logo that peo­ple are proud to wear.

“They got it right from Day 1.”

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