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Internet Marketing October 8th, 2007
Ever wonder how important a website can be to a company? Since the internet gained widespread appeal in the mid 1990’s I have always found it interesting to see the how the corporate world treats its very own online persona. Usually if the ability to make money is in place you begin to notice corporations pay attention. Hence the reason my ears perked up last month over a small court battle going on between the National Hockey League (NHL) and the New York Rangers.
For cosmetic reasons the NHL has felt it is important to keep all of its team web sites within its own “corporate umbrella.” It is felt by the NHL that doing this will improve cohesiveness and appeal amongst all of the teams that play within the organization. The New York Rangers do not like this approach. The reason? Money. Instead they feel that with recent additions to the team, in Chris Drury and Scott Gomez that they have improved the marketability of the team and also are anxious to capitalize on the massive sponsorship opportunity that is available to the team and its sudden increase in website traffic. These additions, a Rangers official has commented, “have made the Rangers a strong contender… creating enormous opportunities to increase traffic to the Rangers website, as wel as to use the Rangers website to cultivate fan excitement, attract new fans, and enhance the Rangers business.”
If history repeats itself, they won’t have to fight very hard. (Infact, if you check the Rangers website you will see that they are already the only team on the NHL.com homepage the has its own website domain) In 1995, the NFL’s Dallas Cowboy’s also filed an antitrust claim and won. In 1997, the MLB’s New York Yankees followed suit. What has me interested in this, is not necessarily the details of why teams are doing this (ability to improve value of advertising dollars.)
The overlying interest this plays is what I was originally writing about; for corporations to take notice of the financial opportunity in a website means that the opportunity to make a great deal of money with a website is possible. Many years ago, many of our own internet marketing team members would find ourselves trying to educate the public on the opportunity available to them. It was an interesting time because we understood the opportunity available to companies that would allow us to create an internet marketing strategy for them. Recently, this mindset has changed.
Many companies that we work with come to us well aware of the opportunity and instead are interested in finding a company that can build a credible and effective strategy that encapsulates what a good internet marketing campaign can be. Its a ‘real world’ pat on the back. The New York Rangers are the NHL’s first true indication that marketing and advertising dollars spent well, can have a large impact on a company’s financial model. While the NHL is hoping the courts will agree that “maintaining control of team websites is for the greater good,” it is highly unlikely that this request will take precedence over the ability to line a hockey teams pockets with money – after all we are living in a capitalist society.
I personally believe that this example represents a big win for the internet marketing industry as a whole. While not directly related in every way, it does showcase very well the opportunity that big business can have if they choose to have a company put together a winning internet, and search engine marketing strategy. Hooray to the New York Rangers!