By Joe Grobeck
Hockey isn’t exactly popular in the state of Florida. Nonetheless, there are two NHL teams that reside in the state. To increase attendance for the 2011-2012 season the Tampa Bay Lightning instilled a campaign entitled “Be The Thunder”. The three main challenges of the campaign were to overcome fan skepticism and build support for new direction, to popularize a cold-weather sport in a warm-weather town, and to galvanize a transient community around a local team.
The “Be The Thunder” campaign included many forms of owned media. The first form of owned media were cable and broadcast TV ads targeting men during high-impact fall premieres and first run episodes. The Lightning also created a Facebook app called “Thunderizer”. This app let fans check into their section at the arena and earn points by screaming into their computer or phone to feel apart of the game. Fans could share their results to gain an exponential reach. The campaign also utilized Newspaper ads and Digital Billboards.
The results of the campaign were positive. The Lightning reached 10,000 season ticket sales on Aug 7, 2011, which was 3 weeks earlier than the prior year. Season ticket sales also doubled from the previous year, and sellout games increased by 50% with 20 games sold out.