Chris Botta spoke about how badly the team wants and needs the Daily News in his blog last week and made a lot of good points.
My point today is the following:
If you want New York City coverage you have to act like a New York City team and not plaster the Long Island label over every single interview and every comment that comes out of the p.r department. You cannot go out of your way to distance yourself and in the process alienate long time Islander fans in the city, five boroughs and the tri-state area who grew up watching the club on Ch 9. In those days the club received back page coverage for regular season games in another sports era in terms of reporting.
This is not the Giants and Jets where those organizations are plastering New York on everything out of East Rutherford to where the team is not even recognized as being in New Jersey and the media has to fight for spots daily to cover practice.
The Islanders situation is almost the exact opposite where they play in New York but go out of their way to advertise themselves as Long Island and help to limit their own coverage. What's next, the organization is going to start putting Uniondale into every comment?
A lot of media have picked up on that theme and have used it as an excuse to limit or outright stop covering the club and so many fans have it's something many do not look for or stopped noticing it happens so often. It is costing this team fan support which means revenue.
Yes, the city coverage is a disaster and at an all time low. The Times, News and Post, Westchester Ganette or NY Sun not in camp. It deserves every criticism the club and it's fans can throw at their publishers and sports editors. This is why we have fan blog boxes or low grade message boards with Mr Witt and Mr Botta now unofficial daily writers for the club. They see the problem but in truth they have partly created their own problem here too.
It's been out of control for a while now in the Islanders p.r department hiring a Montauk firm last summer to do the teams promotions. They may do a great job behind the scenes, I don't know. All I do know is every quote and comment has Long Island in it these day.
Mr Wang's son in law, Chris Dey reportedly took Mike Milbury's spot in the business department but the policy seems to be the same in terms of the club's basic marketing of the product and that's plaster Long Island over everything. That's been the mantra for several seasons now and goes beyond one any one individual or event.
Mr Wang's people in the front office recognized the strong fan support for Islander games in the Meadowlands or Msg over the years and that the fan base is not just from Nassau and Suffolk County. This club has a large following in the Tri-State Area and inside the city limits. All we were told last Easter Sunday is how Islander fans were out in huge numbers at the CAA on a day's notice.
Last season the club told us they had an Islander window display in Manhattan at an electronics store and displayed it on the teams website. In any topic wanting fan support on NYI.com you see all the responses from all across the New York area.
I'm sure even with limited/restricted television coverage on Msg-Cablevision Islander marketing people see what the fan demographic numbers are in terms of ratings. No doubt they must look at the season subscriber ticket lists and have an idea of who is interested in the product now and in the past.
I understand the New York Islanders have to get people interested in hockey in Nassau and Suffolk county and that there are a lot of companies they need involved on several levels. I also understand Mr Wang's business interests are on the Island and have been back to his CA days and this hockey team is a local interest.
That all written tone please down the Long Island mantra, your limiting the fan base, the club's media and alienating future fans in the tri-state area.
In other words, your also hurting yourselves.
Greg Logan was interviewed in the Times and Transcript and had this to say about coverage:
"The fact newspapers decided after the lockout they could save on hockey coverage (with the reduced travel costs for reporters) really hurts the sport, especially in the U.S.," he says, while taking in the opening day scrimmage at the team's training camp at the Tim Hortons 4-Ice Centre. "Attention for hockey there was very much already on the back burner, compared to Canada."
There were other New York media at the rink yesterday, but Logan said they're primarily crews for the Islanders' television and Internet broadcasts. He says he misses competing for every scoop with other newspaper reporters.
"Competition is good," he says. "It keeps people on their toes."