Urban and Hockey: Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

Remember in middle school when a fight would break out in the lunch room, and everyone would start chanting, “Fight! Fight! Fight!” I always wondered a couple of things: who started those chants, and how was everyone always chanting in perfect unison?

The Atlanta sports media is collectively chanting the same thing as John Kincade of 680 The Fan and Steak Shapiro of 790 The Zone are going at it. It all started when Kincade wrote in his blog about the NHL All-Star Game this weekend in Atlanta. It seems that the NHL has decided to put the majority (or maybe even all) of it’s marketing/promotional material on 790 The Zone, instead of 680 The Fan.

The first reason one would raise an eyebrow at this decision is because 680 The Fan is the flagship station of the Atlanta Thrashers. I’m not sure why Kincade didn’t talk about this more in his blog. Instead, one of the points he made was that 790 “has a majority urban audience.” According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this is a true statement.

790 took offense, however, as you can read in the AJC article. I’m not exactly sure why, as the numbers clearly show that 48.1% of 790’s listeners are African-American, compared to 15.9% of 680’s. Sure, maybe Kincade could’ve used a better term than “urban,” and maybe used some of the above figures to back up his argument…but he certainly didn’t have to.

If you put aside the semantics of the term “urban,” for a second, Kincade makes an extremely valid point; why would the NHL put all of it’s marketing efforts behind a station that is the direct (and only) competitor of it’s local franchise’s flagship radio station? Of course, this is the NHL’s decision, and not the Thrashers’. But you have to think that the Thrashers’ brass had some input on this, right?

And we all know that hockey is not a sport that many African-Americans follow. The statistics bear out that fact. So why would the NHL choose to market their All-Star Game with a station with such an African-American following? It’s basic demographics; you cater to your market. Certainly, there can be some efforts to recruit fans from different demographics, but the weeks leading up to the All-Star Game are not the time to do that.

I must admit that I wouldn’t have gone to the game either way, or even watched it on TV. And I’m sure Kincade is aware that whether the ASG was advertised on 790 or 680, there wouldn’t be any converted fans going out to purchase $300 tickets to the game just because they heard about in on a radio station. It seems like it’s based on principle, and I have to side with Kincade in this regard. The NHL has a history of making bad decisions, and this is just the most recent example.


Filed under General Atlanta Sports, Media, NHL

3 responses to “Urban and Hockey: Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

  1. What does any of this have to do with Keith Urban?

  2. Jeff

    Oooh Keith Urban… I thought this was about Urban Meyer!

  3. The Beard

    Wow, gotta love NHL brass. On the bright side, it gives every sports fan hope that they too could possess the qualifications to run a major sports organization/league.

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