May/June 2019

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Page 35 of 55

D id you know that an ice facility is one of the best venues for businesses to advertise? Think about the amount of space there is to work with—in-ice logos, floors, locker rooms, bathrooms, conces- sions, dasher boards, interior/exterior signs, digital ads, scoreboards and more. It adds up to a wealth of possibilities and a tremendous opportunity to earn some extra cash. Revenue generated from arena advertising has become as much a part of a business plan for a facility as selling ice. What makes an ice arena appealing to advertisers is the amount of new people coming to the rink every year. "Unlike some other venues, you're con- tinually cultivating new customers all the time," said John Connelly, former director of sales and development of the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota. "You have a new crop of kids coming into hockey every year, whether they are at the mite levels or just coming into sports. There are always new kids and new parents that are being added to that mix." Another attractive feature for advertis- ers is the amount of engagement time in ice sports. This is a marketing term used to describe the time when a customer is at leisure or is fairly undistracted with their surroundings. In hockey, parents are coming to watch their kids play. There's plenty of engagement time not only before and after games/practices, but also in between periods. The best example of engagement time is the ice resurfacer. "In between periods, everyone's watch- ing the ice resurfacer go round and round and round. It's one of the best pieces of signage anywhere in sports, in my opin- ion," Connelly said. "Who doesn't look at the ice resurfacer? It's a moving billboard." With eight sheets of ice, Connelly knows all about maximizing space. Especially for multi-ice sheet facilities, he recommends bundling together signage opportunities. "If you have more than one ice sheet, you don't just want an advertiser repre- sented on just one ice sheet," Connelly 36 / MAY.JUNE.2019 USICERINKS.COM PHOTO: BIG STOCK

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