Entertainment Hockey

Love on Ice

Love Guru

So the NHL has finally completed their comeback. When was this, you ask? Look no further than the upcoming Mike Myers, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Alba film. Hockey purists may argue that the NHL has never fallen off but numbers don’t lie. Since returning from the league’s lockout a few years back, attendance and viewership has seen a sharp decline. The marketing alliances that have been created for the launch of “The Love Guru” are a great way to grab attention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ed Horne, NHL Senior Executive Vice President, Communications, Entertainment and Club Business confirms, “This alliance is just another step in our strategic plan to build scale and reinforce the NHL’s position within the entertainment space.”

Two years ago the NHL signed with the Williams Morris Agency, a move that led to new relationships with Warner Brothers, Sundance Film Festival, and two acclaimed Hollywood producers. There are a ton of NHL/”The Love Guru” tie-ins that I will not discuss in this post, but you can find them by visiting and watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. Why not support Canada’s (winter) national sport, eh?

Here is some background on the film, “The Love Guru” :

In the comedy “The Love Guru,” Pitka (Mike Myers in his first original character since Austin Powers) is an American who was left at the gates of an ashram in India as a child and raised by gurus. He moves back to the U.S. to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality. His unorthodox methods are put to the test when he must settle a rift between Toronto Maple Leafs star hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) and his estranged wife. After the split, Roanoke’s wife starts dating L.A. Kings star Jacques Grande (Justin Timberlake) out of revenge, sending her husband into a major professional skid – to the horror of the teams’ owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) and Coach Cherkov (Verne Troyer). Pitka must return the couple to marital nirvana and get Roanoke back on his game so the team can break the 40-year-old “Bullard Curse” and win the Stanley Cup.

The cross promotion for this movie is a unique opportunity to leverage the excitement of the NHL championships, (the comeback of) Mike Myers, and the star studded theatrical release. Myers gets to pay homage to his beloved team, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the NHL and its properties get a boost from Myer’s brand equity. Overall, regular season attendance for Toronto has seen a decrease by approximately 2,000 between the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The NHL has granted Myers unprecedented use of trademarks and overall access because the Myer’s brand is a winner that has global awareness. The positive association of the NHL with the film will benefit the league years after the film makes it to HD DVD and Blue-Ray. Look to see a Maple Leafs’s attendance jump for the 2008-09 season, but too bad the team could not make the playoffs this year (note: the Toronto Maple Leaf’s statistically were the worst NHL team in Canada for 2007-08). However, next year the Maple Leafs with be able to capitalize on their added exposure similar to the old Mighty Ducks (the Flying V and Knuckle puck might have helped this season). If Mike Myers is a betting man he might need to roll with America for this year’s playoffs.

With America’s economic recession, weak dollar, and trade deficit we all need some Canadian comedic relief. Not since 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and the original Austin Powers have I anticipated the nationwide release of a comedy. “The Love Guru” promises to be the perfect dessert to the Stanley Cup Championship series and a way to keep fans engaged in the best show on ice. You can tell Disney on Ice I said that!

In case you cannot wait until the June 20, 2008 release, be sure to visit “The Love Guru” Youtube channel and for more special footage.

By Kenji Summers

Everything your mother wanted you to be at a young age

9 replies on “Love on Ice”

“Hockey purists may argue that the NHL has never fallen off but numbers don’t lie. Since returning from the league’s lockout a few years back, attendance and viewership has seen a sharp decline.”

Watch your pratfalls and do your homework.

Contrary to popular belief, the NHL enjoyed record levels for attendance this past season. Far from “a sharp decline”, total attendance & per-game averages both reached record levels in each category and marked the third consecutive season of growth.

2006-07 2007-08
total att. = 20,861,787 total att. = 21,236,255
per-game avg.=16,961 per-game avg. = 17,265

total att. = 20,854,169
per-game avg. =16,955.

Across the league, NHL teams played to 93.6% of capacity over the season, up 5% from the 2006-07 season. Moreover, the Pittsburgh Penguins sold out their season for the first time in franchise history, joining the Philadelphia Flyers, the Minnesota Wild (318 consecutive sellouts of 18,500-plus since they entered the League), the New York Rangers (18,200), the Anaheim Ducks (17,193) and every Canadian Franchise to sell out all home games. Not to mention, Buffalo & San Jose, who virtually sold-out every game as well.

Several other teams had significant increases in terms of single-game attendance numbers, the St. Louis Blues were up 41%, the Chicago Blackhawks up 32%, the Washington Capitals up 11%, and the New Jersey Devils up 10% from last years figures.

Oh, and viewership increased to an avg. of 261,760 a game, up from 195,666 a game last season.

I think the only reason I continue to visit this site is for the off-handed chance of stumbling across a link/story I missed somewhere else…

Yeah I was going to say, I thought attendance was up this year. It seems that young guys like Crosby and Ovechkin might be starting a little bit of a resurgence for the sport. The young guys coupled with the fact that big time former hockey cities like Chicago and Pittsburgh are improving means bigger attendance numbers not smaller. Just because ESPN doesn’t cover it doesn’t mean hockey isn’t starting to come back.

Not sure you can say yet it’s back to where it once was. It’s big in markets where there is history and/or grassroots programs. But across the country as a whole it’s still a niche sport.

Maple Leafs attendance will go up as a result of Love Guru? Do your homework … The Leafs are always number one in sell-outs…and you will be hard pressed to find a ticket in Toronto even if they continue to put a sub-par team on the ice. It has and will have nothing to do with this film.

Bad post man.

League is starting to come back? Yeah right. Do your homework, dude…

“Consider that while just six of the NHL’s 30 teams are based in Canada, they account for close to one-third of the league’s overall revenue. And since September 2005 alone, the Canadian dollar has surged some 19 per cent in value, from 83.9 cents U.S. to parity. The loonie’s climb may be responsible for as much as half of the league’s revenue gains since the lockout, says one source familiar with NHL finances.”

No one cared about the convergence of sport and entertainment?
However, I stand corrected about the NHL’s sharp decline lol. Readers, please overstand the OVERALL theme of the post before catching feelings. Thanks!

I think you were spot on about the overall decline. Sure it’s big in certain markets, but when your product is on something called VERSUS, and you’ve expanded into markets where it’s 85 degrees most of the year and kids haven’t grown up on hockey like they have in the Original 6 markets and in Canada, then you have problems.

I like the convergence of sports and entertainment. I think its a great idea by the producers of the movie,(I’m sure Myers and his love for hockey had a hand in that).
Its also a good/cool thing that they decided to go with a real NHL team as opposed to creating a fictional one for the movie, kudos to the NHL for okaying that idea.

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