The New York Rangers are the only NHL team without a mascot. It’s time for that to change.
The start of the 2020-21 season is the perfect time for the New York Rangers to become the final team out of 31 NHL hockey teams to have a mascot. It would be successful towards ticket sales, merchandise sales, exposure to expand the brand and general fan atmosphere at Madison Square Garden. This would help the organization from a business standpoint and enhance the fan experience.
Mascots have slowly worked their way into the NHL from the mid-1980s all the way to two years ago with the emergence of Gritty for the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers are the only hockey club that has never had an official mascot. As times have changed in this ever-changing world of pop culture, it would create a great buzz going into next season and beyond.
In these times of hardships, with the fall out of lost revenue and overall hardships from fans all over the globe, any kind of buzz would be welcomed as both a distraction from what is going on in the world today and also exposure to the brand in what will be exciting anticipation for the 2020-2021 season.
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The buzz that this would create when announced will draw attention to the Rangers. The Press will get stories from every angle covering this in a projected time where there won’t be much to talk about (after most of the roster moves are made and before preseason games start) and social media would explode.
Some will be positive and some will be negative, but there will be a strong buzz either way. Fans will share their opinions all over the globe as this will be unprecedented for this organization.
With the emergence of Gritty for the Flyers two seasons ago, the news came out of nowhere and hockey fans of all fanbases could not stop talking about it. It was heavily slammed as a bad idea at first but then Gritty became iconic to a degree.
Now there are tons of T-shirts and memorabilia that fans have purchased, fans dressing up as Gritty for Halloween and even some fans getting tattoos of its likeness on their bodies. The fact that it is a completely fictional character that has no relation to the club prior means that the creative door is wide open.
The New York Rangers will be a topic of conversation all over the hockey world and it will build on the fanbase. They are a traditional fanbase as an Original 6 team and would become the 6th out of those six teams to have a mascot.
A mascot would work well in the Garden of Dreams Foundation, which is Madison Square Garden’s main foundation geared toward helping children with illnesses or are facing financial challenges that provide resources to reach their goals.
The mascot can visit children in hospitals and other caring venues in times the mascot is not needed at MSG. Assist in all aspects of fundraiser efforts and execution to put more emphasis on the Foundation and its importance to the community.
Diehard fans who don’t like the mascot will voice their opinions but it will not stop them from coming to games. They will come to enjoy the games with the frequency they usually attend year to year. Existing fans who love the idea and newer fans that are drawn in from the exposure will jump all over this idea, improving sales across the board.
The buzz and marketing would get the New York Rangers name out there and in the news to casual sports fans and if they were ever on the fence about coming to a game, the attention could tip the scales and they will give it a try.
It could also bring more families with children on Kid’s Day games to draw to the arena. A draw for many children to come and get hooked to the sport we all love even more. Memories that will last a lifetime for children and families coming to the arena that is good, clean fun. For the existing families with children that come to games, it will add on another element and increase the value of their experience. They would come to games more regularly or at the very least have another aspect to come to games for.
Merchandising production and sales will explode with this addition. T-shirts, hats, pucks, key chains, miniature dolls, toys, and hundreds of more options can be produced and sold through this idea. Something new and unique to this New York Rangers fanbase that will catch on. Existing diehard fans will have something new to add to their collections and newer fans will purchase items because they like it and it catches their eye.
Teams all around the NHL use the model of the mascots to pump up the home crowd. One aspect that enhances the fan experience at games is the crowd atmosphere. Get the hoke fans cheering, shouting, and making noise when there isn’t much going on.
In the NHL, no team can put up 5-6 goals consistently every game or win every game. Enhancing the value of tickets through the experience win or lose will help push the brand further because it’s impossible to win every game. Crowd atmosphere can also help with the Rangers feeding off of crowd energy and create a more hostile atmosphere for the opposition.
A mascot wouldn’t be the end all be all in this line but can lead and assist in pushing fan atmosphere to a new level more consistently. Over the years, the MSG production team has integrated stunning pictures and graphics on the ice before the games and intermissions, hype videos, and interactive games to play along with for entertainment.
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A mascot leading the crowd only enhances what is already going on. Generating fan atmosphere no matter what is going on in any given game is fun for everyone.