ECHL Meetings Emphasize ‘Teams Helping Teams’

ATLANTA – The 11th Annual ECHL Marketing & Communications Meetings were held June 6-9 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Commissioner Brian McKenna opened the meetings, addressing the more than 130 attendees. McKenna reviewed the highlights from last season including the ECHL increasing its attendance by 9.1 percent to an average of 4,372 per game, the third consecutive season of increased attendance, and outlined the goals and objectives for the league and teams in 2006-07.

Sal Galatioto of Galatioto Sports Partners, LLC spoke to the general session about increasing shareholder wealth and CEO of National Sports Services Bill Davidson made an information management program presentation. The session concluded with Dean Bonham, who is CEO of The Bonham Group, discussing how to improve and increase sponsorships. The marketing breakout session featured Len Rhodes, who is Global Vice President Marketing for Rbk Hockey, discussing brand recognition and brand value while former ECHL and current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play-by-play broadcaster Tom Grace addressed the communications group. The first day concluded with a vendor showcase where licensed vendors displayed products for teams. The grand prize of the showcase was a drawing for a complete set of dasherboard graphic, donated by AMI Grafix and won by the Long Beach Ice Dogs.

The general session on June 8 featured Cosmo Sports President Cary Kaplan explaining fan database building as well as season ticket sales incentives, and Human Architecture President Gwen Burch, a former executive trainer for Walt Disney, speaking about customer service and work excellence. Burch joined Virtua Health Vice President Jim Dwyer and TeamWork Online President Buffy Filippell on a panel that discussed effective management strategies and sales cultural while Kaplan worked with ticket account executives on selling techniques. Scott Bernarde of The Atlanta Journal Constitution Gwinnett News and Chip Zeller of WAGA-TV each spoke to the communications group on how to improve print and television coverage.

Following a presentation of annual league awards on June 9, HRH/Global Sports Services Vice President Alex Fairly explained league and team insurance and liability and then each team presented a revenue-generating idea that it found to be successful this past season.