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Z-Man

The Devils struggle with their "brand"

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If anything, that PROVES that geography is a huge part of the problem. The Devils were that last team into the area. It's going to be hardest for them to get fans. Usually, you follow the team that your older relatives did. Add to that, it's the least popular sport when it comes to main stream media. The reason a trash team like the Rags from 1998-2005 were more popular than the Devils was because their fanbase had been ingrained here for generations. Plus main stream NY media rarely pays attention to hockey, but when it does, it thinks 1994 was last Thursday.

Here's a post I made in the McMullen thread...not only does it illustrate what the Devils were up against in 1982, but it shows that even though McMullen deserves kudos for being the guy who brought NHL hockey to NJ (doesn't matter if he's likable or not), he clearly wasn't the right guy to try to make inroads into the established fanbases of the Rangers, Islanders, and Flyers:

In bold: I think this is what McMullen deserves the most criticism for [poor marketing strategy or lack thereof], though I think he and Lou are a two-headed monster on this one. Not only was his team moving into an incredibly crowded hockey market as it was, but look at the teams: one was the very best team in the NHL at the time in the Islanders, another had a strong multi-generational fan base in the Rangers, and a third, the Flyers, had already enjoyed success with two Stanley Cups, and had pretty much nabbed whatever hockey fans there were in South Jersey as their own. McMullen needed to be as proactive and aggressive as possible in trying to dig into those fanbases, as well as attempting to reel in the casual fans who maybe thought the NHL was kind of cool, but hadn't committed to a team yet. This was especially crucial since the on-ice product he was bringing to NJ was clearly not going to be any good for some time. He seemed to think having a team with "New Jersey" in front of its nickname would take care of everything, and that fans would automatically show up because, hey, this team plays in New Jersey!

The team was the "best kept secret" in the NHL for far too long when McMullen was the owner, except when, of course, the Devils' success and the way they went about it put them on the map as hockey killers and sleep inducers in the eyes of the masses. It would be interesting to see where the Devils might be today, from a fan standpoint, if McMullen had some of Vanderbeek's more personable and creative personality traits.

And yeah, it doesn't help that that the Devils moved into a market that was already well-spoken for, as far as major league sports go.

I think the one guy who could've made a huge difference in the long run for the Devils would've been Mario Lemieux, if McMullen had said "fvck it" in 1983, and decided not to try to get the team to start playing better out of pride. The Devils had clearly had some good players back in the 80s, but a guy like Lemieux would've given them that all-time, all-century talent that would've given the Devils instant attention...even though the team would still have been bad for awhile, suddenly one of the two best players in the NHL would be a New Jersey Devil. I've often wondered how an alternate Lemieux/Devils timeline would've worked out, on a number of different fronts.

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Oh brother. Please let's not turn this into another "board politics" thread. There is a lot of interesting discussion going on about the Devils here, don't ruin it with this nonsense.

Just remember it takes 2 to tango. He responded with a smart-ass response, as did I in return.

Besides after that last post im done with that. I'm ready to go back to the Devils now, thank you.

Edited by DevsMan84

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Dear Choke-on-a-stick17,

Your posts on the board have gone from "bad" to "hysterical". Nobody takes you seriously, nobody cares about your absurd Kovy-blind-hate ("facts" made me giggle) that would make even Manta say "whoa slow down buddy". If you can't see the skill, leadership, and hard work Kovalchuk brings to the team you're nothing short of an absolute moron. You're going on my ignore list now, but I needed to say this one last time.

You're a sad, strange little man. And you have my pity.

Couldn't have said it better myself. I wasn't sold on Kovy initially. Hell, I wasn't sold on him in October. Anyone who isn't sold now is blind or a hater. Even manta's been quiet.

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Precisely. Like it or not a defensive-minded, boring, "trap" team with no marketable stars in a fringe league is NOT appealing at all to the average casual sports fan. And I have yet to hear anyone from the Devils come out publicly to even attempt to dismiss that notion.

Which is the real problem. Why is old news being brought up now? Because, while our crowds haven't changed, our team has changed for the better (by a lot) for the first time since the lockout. We may not be a cup favorite by a long shot, but IMHO this is the most marketable, watchable (to the casual fan) team we've had since 2000-01. That makes the marketing issues all the more noticeable -- for awhile we had an excuse, we needed to play a boring trap because our team wasn't that great, and Madden and Pando (my favorite players, so I'm not hating on them at all) were logging big minutes. Good luck marketing them to a casual fan, especially as they're sucking the life out of an exciting guy like Jagr.

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the best marketing in sports is free, and the devils will never get that free marketing.

Agreed. The old dinosaurs that control the mainstream NYC media control what gets covered. If these old farts like Fatcessa or Russ Salzberg wanted to make the NY Liberty the most exciting thing since sliced bread, they could do it, and the Liberty would sell out every game for the year. Its one reason soccer is under-covered, one reason the NBA is over-covered, and one reason hockey doesnt get the attention it deserves.

Edited by devlman

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We play in a market that doesnt cover its own backyard of NJ, or hockey in general.

It wouldnt matter if we marketed ourselves til we were blue.

This is a great point. Besides Boomer trying to talk about the Rangers (only when they win) over Carton shouting about how "nobody cares about hockey," and the intolerable Steve Sommers at night (if you can actually listen to this guy, he is terrible), there is no mention of hockey on the radio, let alone Devils hockey. Devils scores are often a throw away at the end of sports segments on the local news (after what Carmelo ate for lunch, how big CC's dump was after breakfast this morning, and what ridiculous comment came out of Rex's mouth today). This team gets no pub., and is disrespected in its own home market.

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It's just an overcrowded sports market, especially when it comes to hockey whose total fan base is limited. That is, the total market of people in the area that are or would remotely interested in the NHL enough to pay money to go to games is relatively small. The geographic market has three different hockey teams (maybe even four if you include the Flyers), and one of those teams has been around for years and already had a large following in NJ before the Devils came along. You can do all the advertising and ingenious marketing strategies that you want, but it will only help out at the margins.

Just compare to the Nets. Even when they were good and went to the finals on a couple of occasions, their attendance was still awful, and vastly outnumbered by those of totally pathetic Knicks teams.

Small crowds, especially in the regular season, are just a fact of life for the Devils or any Jersey team that might come around. It doesn't mean the fans we have are any less passionate or knowledegable than those of any other team. And the Rangers can take their big crowds of fans who think the world revolves around them, and I'll take a franchise that has been much more successful than the Rangers have been ON THE ICE where it really counts.

I don't want this to happen, because their fans deserve better, but the Isles going to Quebec, Kc, Seattle would be the best thing that could happen to us from a financial perspective.

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I don't want this to happen, because their fans deserve better, but the Isles going to Quebec, Kc, Seattle would be the best thing that could happen to us from a financial perspective.

How though? I really don't think the Isles fans will suddenly convert to Devils fans.

Honestly if they move I think we will barely feel it.

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The Devils market themselves more than most teams in the area but our issue is we have a crowded sports market, an overcrowded hockey market, and the fan base as a whole just doesn't seem to care about games except for a handful during the season and the playoffs

Good point. It is amazing that they have lasted in this market this long with how little support they get, and how much money they've lost over the years.

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Good point. It is amazing that they have lasted in this market this long with how little support they get, and how much money they've lost over the years.

Colin might be right in that in the last 5 years the Devils have marketed themselves the most out of all the area teams, but we are still 25 years too late to the game. It will probably take another decade to see the true effects of the marketing efforts today.

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The Devils' biggest problem is that too many New Jersey hockey fans don't root for the New Jersey hockey team. And part of that problem is the fact that a lot of New Jerseyans don't identify with New Jersey as much as they do with New York or Philly, depending on which city they're living in a suburb of. Could marketing help with that? Maybe. But most of it seems to stem from "My Dad was a Rangers fan, so I am too." Commercials probably wouldn't lessen a boy's desire to bond with his father over a sports team.

The only solution is simple: Kick Rangers fans in the nuts until they are incapable of fathering Rangers fan children.

I dunno. I always identified with NY as a kid, and I moved there when I got out of college, and my dad's a Rags fan (though not a huge hockey guy, if we were talking Nets Knicks it would be a different story) but I became a Devils fan because I hated the '94 Rags, and one kid in my class was a huge Devils fan and turned me onto them. If I don't meet him, and later get attached to guys like Elias, Marty and Dog (because I had some years where I barely watched hockey, but rooted for both local teams), I don't become a Devils fan. That was dumb luck. Marketing can take the place of some dumb luck. Am I the exception? Probably. 9 out of 10 fans who hear about the Devils probably don't make the shift, but if a couple thousand get exposed to the Devils instead of a couple hundred, that makes a difference.

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This is a great point. Besides Boomer trying to talk about the Rangers (only when they win) over Carton shouting about how "nobody cares about hockey," and the intolerable Steve Sommers at night (if you can actually listen to this guy, he is terrible), there is no mention of hockey on the radio, let alone Devils hockey. Devils scores are often a throw away at the end of sports segments on the local news (after what Carmelo ate for lunch, how big CC's dump was after breakfast this morning, and what ridiculous comment came out of Rex's mouth today). This team gets no pub., and is disrespected in its own home market.

Yup. Its sad we get disrespected in our own home market. We are treated as if we are not a home team. In my opinion the media tells people what is interesting and likeable and that translates to hockey not being popular around here. How do non-basketball fans know who Jeremy Lin is when the Kincks have been totally irrelevant (and still are) today? How else do you explain top 40 music of today? Every song on pop radio is popular because people listen to what is given to them.

Edited by devlman

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How though? I really don't think the Isles fans will suddenly convert to Devils fans.

Honestly if they move I think we will barely feel it.

Well no self respecting Isles fan would go over to the Rangers with how bitter that rivalry is.

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How though? I really don't think the Isles fans will suddenly convert to Devils fans.

Honestly if they move I think we will barely feel it.

It'll be slow, probably 10 years, but a bunch of Isles fans already root for Devils against Pens, Flyers, and especially Rags. They'll never root Rags, and it's tough to root for a team that abandoned you and plays far away. Look how many Dodgers fans starting rooting Mets after a couple years. We become the only team to root for. If Isles fans have kids and want to take them to games, they go to the Rock. The kids grow up reals Devils fans. Hockey will always be a sport for die hards, and the only way to pick up a lot of die hards is for them to lose their team.

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Well no self respecting Isles fan would go over to the Rangers with how bitter that rivalry is.

Doesn't mean they will automatically go to the Devils. If the Devils left town, would you start cheering for the Isles?

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It'll be slow, probably 10 years, but a bunch of Isles fans already root for Devils against Pens, Flyers, and especially Rags. They'll never root Rags, and it's tough to root for a team that abandoned you and plays far away. Look how many Dodgers fans starting rooting Mets after a couple years. We become the only team to root for. If Isles fans have kids and want to take them to games, they go to the Rock. The kids grow up reals Devils fans. Hockey will always be a sport for die hards, and the only way to pick up a lot of die hards is for them to lose their team.

I'd love to see what the actual breakdown would be among Islander fans...how many of them would root for another team, and how many would turn their backs on the NHL for good. I remember being torn as to what I would do in '95, when it seemed like the Devils going to Nashville was a very real possibility. I don't think I could've kept rooting for them in Nashville, and I definitely wouldn't have become a Ranger, Islander, or Flyer fan...I think I would've remained a fan of NHL hockey, but with no team to root for. And I'm as die-hard as it gets. Thank God the Devils never left...

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I'd love to see what the actual breakdown would be among Islander fans...how many of them would root for another team, and how many would turn their backs on the NHL for good. I remember being torn as to what I would do in '95, when it seemed like the Devils going to Nashville was a very real possibility. I don't think I could've kept rooting for them in Nashville, and I definitely wouldn't have become a Ranger, Islander, or Flyer fan...I think I would've remained a fan of NHL hockey, but with no team to root for. And I'm as die-hard as it gets. Thank God the Devils never left...

I have a friend who was an absolute die hard Hartford Whalers fan. He always loved hockey and lives in Connecticut. It took him 15 years to finally swallow his pride and become a Bruins fan. (And yes, I can confirm he was a fan BEFORE the cup!)

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I have a friend who was an absolute die hard Hartford Whalers fan. He always loved hockey and lives in Connecticut. It took him 15 years to finally swallow his pride and become a Bruins fan. (And yes, I can confirm he was a fan BEFORE the cup!)

This is probably closest to how I would recover...it would take a looooooooong time (probably about as long as it took your friend), but I would probably root for another team eventually. I have no idea which one, though I can definitely eliminate the Rangers.

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If the Devils left town, would you start cheering for the Isles?

Probably. They're the only local team I don't hate with every ounce of my being.

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I apologize in advance for this post, everyone. Scan right past it if you like. If DM and msweet want to delete it, that's fine, but good luck with that.

Might want to fix that to Canada there

You are the one who said that Martin Brodeur and Jason Kidd were from the same country. That's what I was pointing out. But you didn't even realize that you said that.

Shall we go over your recollection of how you became a fan in 1996? When I brought it up you said that you were a fan earlier but then other posters even chimned in saying that you did indeed post that on here. You then tried to pass it off and ask us do we trust what you wrote here in plain english or what you remember doing.

Since even you said we cannot trust what you write here, then I guess all your posts are nonsense.

Yes, we shall. I became a fan of the Devils in 1994. But, I knew nothing about hockey really, I'd been to a few games with group organizations but was not really a hockey fan. My brother was a bigger hockey fan. The Devils-Rangers series caught my attention. I remember my brother and I watching the beginning of Game 6 through the fuzz - we didn't get SportsChannel and that's the channel Game 6 was on. I can recall being in my bed listening to Mike Miller describing Messier scoring into the empty net in Game 6.

I couldn't watch the final 16 seconds of Game 7 - I closed my eyes and ears. I couldn't believe it when Zelepukin scored, I raced upstairs to celebrate with my dad and brother. My hopes were dashed when Matteau scored a period and a half later.

In 1995, I attended the home opener. The Devils and the Sabres played, I believe the result was a tie; unfortunately the Internet can confirm this, so I might be lying. I believe David Emma and Ben Hankinson played for the Devils that night; unfortunately, the Internet could probably confirm that too. I put part of my allowance towards getting SportsChannel. We were all set to get it and I was excited to see the Devils on TV, but my brother neglected to call the cable company that day, and so I missed a Monday night game against Montreal - I was furious. Furious enough to remember these details nearly 17 years later.

We can go on and on like this. I remember reading that Stephane Richer was among the goal leaders at points in the season. I can describe watching Randy McKay score the OT winner against Boston. I missed Game 1 against Pittsburgh to go to a friend's house - I can remember missing that, but having to keep myself apprised of the game on the radio. Shawn Chambers being flattened by Eric Lindros on the first shift against the Flyers. I had to miss most of Game 2 for my oldest brother's high school graduation (since the lockout had moved the Cup Finals so late into the season), but we were at a restaurant afterwards and I got to see the famous Niedermayer goal. And I can remember the Devils winning the Stanley Cup, and I thought it was funny to sip Mountain Dew out of a champagne flute. I attended the celebration that year - my mom took my brother and I. McMullen got booed, and the camera quickly cut away from him as he slumped down in the seat of his convertible. I remember Terreri holding the Nashvile: No Way sign, but I couldn't see much. Some woman in a Niedermayer jersey danced on top of a grandstand and people told her to take her top off.

Now I've just wasted 10 minutes of my time, and hopefully 10 minutes of your time, since you're probably a slow reader (or more likely, you're a bad reader and that's why you have such poor reading comprehension). I did break one promise - I told myself I wouldn't respond to you

Edited by DevilMinder

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Getting back to the subject at hand, I think if the Devils hadn't won so much, they'd definitely be in another city by now. I think sundstrom's LA comparison is apt - there just aren't many cities that can even support 2 teams in any sport, and the media doesn't have the time or ink to devote to multiple teams in sports that aren't popular to begin with.

That's why the NHL getting out in front of new media is so important - the decision to not restrict posting things on youtube was a great move for them.

Edited by Triumph

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I'm certain that if the Rangers, had the reputation of being a "defensive-minded, boring, 'trap' team"" that had even close to the success that the Devils have had in the win department, they'd have an even bigger following than they do now, and would be talked about a lot more than they already are.

rags fan says whatwavetowel.gif

Edited by lazer

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I apologize in advance for this post, everyone. Scan right past it if you like. If DM and msweet want to delete it, that's fine, but good luck with that.

You are the one who said that Martin Brodeur and Jason Kidd were from the same country. That's what I was pointing out. But you didn't even realize that you said that.

Yes, we shall. I became a fan of the Devils in 1994. But, I knew nothing about hockey really, I'd been to a few games with group organizations but was not really a hockey fan. My brother was a bigger hockey fan. The Devils-Rangers series caught my attention. I remember my brother and I watching the beginning of Game 6 through the fuzz - we didn't get SportsChannel and that's the channel Game 6 was on. I can recall being in my bed listening to Mike Miller describing Messier scoring into the empty net in Game 6.

I couldn't watch the final 16 seconds of Game 7 - I closed my eyes and ears. I couldn't believe it when Zelepukin scored, I raced upstairs to celebrate with my dad and brother. My hopes were dashed when Matteau scored a period and a half later.

In 1995, I attended the home opener. The Devils and the Sabres played, I believe the result was a tie; unfortunately the Internet can confirm this, so I might be lying. I believe David Emma and Ben Hankinson played for the Devils that night; unfortunately, the Internet could probably confirm that too. I put part of my allowance towards getting SportsChannel. We were all set to get it and I was excited to see the Devils on TV, but my brother neglected to call the cable company that day, and so I missed a Monday night game against Montreal - I was furious. Furious enough to remember these details nearly 17 years later.

We can go on and on like this. I remember reading that Stephane Richer was among the goal leaders at points in the season. I can describe watching Randy McKay score the OT winner against Boston. I missed Game 1 against Pittsburgh to go to a friend's house - I can remember missing that, but having to keep myself apprised of the game on the radio. Shawn Chambers being flattened by Eric Lindros on the first shift against the Flyers. I had to miss most of Game 2 for my oldest brother's high school graduation (since the lockout had moved the Cup Finals so late into the season), but we were at a restaurant afterwards and I got to see the famous Niedermayer goal. And I can remember the Devils winning the Stanley Cup, and I thought it was funny to sip Mountain Dew out of a champagne flute. I attended the celebration that year - my mom took my brother and I. McMullen got booed, and the camera quickly cut away from him as he slumped down in the seat of his convertible. I remember Terreri holding the Nashvile: No Way sign, but I couldn't see much. Some woman in a Niedermayer jersey danced on top of a grandstand and people told her to take her top off.

Now I've just wasted 10 minutes of my time, and hopefully 10 minutes of your time, since you're probably a slow reader (or more likely, you're a bad reader and that's why you have such poor reading comprehension). I did break one promise - I told myself I wouldn't respond to you

What you have posted is pretty much everything that can be found and looked up pretty easily.

You posted on here in a thread (and even CR1976 pointed it out on that thread) that you did not become a fan until the 1996 season. When brought that fact up by me, him, as well as others, you backtracked and said that what you wrote here doesn't matter as you remember being at the celebrations in 1995 and crap and that what you remember trumps what you write on here. Since I do not know you in person, I can only go by what you write here and from what I see you contradict yourself and cannot keep your own BS straight.

If I have poor reading comprehension with your posts, it is only because of your contradictory, BS postings where you have a condescending attitude towards anyone who disgrees with you.

Again you said it best before, if you can't even trust what you wrote on this board before, then neither can anyone else.

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