Professional sports teams subscribe to a simple theory: win games, sell tickets. In 2007 The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. In 2008 they went to Game 7 of the finals. Despite it being nearly impossible to win more games, they still weren’t selling out. They also noticed a specific lack of young people in the arena. There were children and grandparents, but they were weak in 18-35.
Q+M was hired to develop a three-year plan to fix that. First, we determined that they were selling the wrong product. We needed to change “come watch the Red Wings win a hockey game,” to “come have a good time in Detroit.” In addition, we found that the demographic had been overlooked for so long that many folks who had been big fans as kids felt neglected and taken for granted. Things as simple as merchandise not being made in small sizes alienated younger fans.
To engage these future season ticket holders, while simultaneously preserving the current bread-and-butter, Q+M created a separate brand with a special section in the arena. The Open Skate program tied going to a Red Wings game to things our demographic was already doing in Detroit: going to rock shows, DIY fairs and dive bars. Anchored by an ambassador program, Open Skate was a striking aesthetic, music festivals presented by the Red Wings, party buses from popular neighborhoods, away-game watching parties and a line of merchandise that brought a new level of art and style to the pro-sports world.