Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hockey Lives In Columbus, Part III: Bring On The All Star Game

I love logos.

A logo is something that is central to a brand identity. It is a statement that is meant to make an impression… Something that the followers of the brand can look at and say, "oh yeah, I want that."

In the case of sports teams, a team's logo is perhaps even more important than it is with other businesses. After all... that's the logo and the brand impression that you're putting on shirts, hats, and seemingly infinite other types of cool swag that we wear forevermore. And if you've read this space before... you know I'm a swag guy.

So, any time you're rolling out any kind of new logo or brand identity, it's a pretty big deal. Now, this may not have been the launch of a new third jersey, as the Columbus Blue Jackets have done twice before, but the unveiling of a logo for special event such as the 2013 NHL All-Star game is a big deal, and worthy of celebration.

A celebration kind of like the one we witnessed on an unseasonably chilly Friday afternoon in late April in Columbus Ohio.

A crowd of easily 300 (probably more) people gathered in the Arena District to check out the unveiling of the logo for the 2013 All Star Game. Sure, you had some suits there... after all, the Arena District is a place of business for many in Columbus, but they were far outnumbered by loyal hockey fans in union blue, who had a chance to mix and mingle, catch up with old friends, and hey... even grab a hot dog or two as well, just to get that genuine arena feel.

And as we heard opening remarks from CBJ play-by-play man Jeff Rimer, Greater Columbus Sports Commission Executive Director Linda Logan, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and CBJ owner John P. McConnell... the tension was building.

It's very important to discuss the economic impact that Columbus will enjoy from the tens of thousands of fans who will walk the Arena District during All Star Weekend and the estimated $12 million in visitor spending from attendees from all over the hockey world. But can you fault people for being a little antsy? We're hockey people. We want to see the logo that will represent us as we embark on the nine-month wait to get our all-star game in nationwide Arena. We were ready to see the darn thing.

And, of course, as one might expect… As with any grand entrance, the guest of honor entered with a bang:

And it was met with cheers, screaming and other generally joyful noise.

And there it was... our logo for our NHL All Star Weekend, January 26 and 27th.

Is it flashy? No. Overdone? No again.

But it is awesome. At least I think so... and from what I gathered talking to people afterwards, I think a lot of us agree. It is solid, it represents Columbus, and most importantly... it's ours.

Just like All-Star weekend in 2013. It's ours. Our game, in our arena, in our city.

And I can't wait to share our city with the rest of the hockey world in January. Because I'm a hockey person.

We are hockey people.

Yeah, I said it.

I don't care what you might hear from some fans who troll CBJ social media and tell the hockey world that Columbus is not a viable hockey market. More likely than not, they have never visited to see what a great hockey market we are.

They can come see for themselves now. If they won't take advantage of that opportunity... well, that's their loss.

The red carpet is out... we'll see you in January.

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