By Lorelei Leona
ECHL Communications Intern
Whether they are suiting up for charity or just having a little fun, the Las Vegas Wranglers’ promotional jerseys are known to spark interest among fans and media and attract some attention.
Over the years the Wranglers have been known to don some interesting jerseys and engage in some over-the-top promotions, like back in 2006 when they gave away orange vests that said, “Don’t shoot. I’m human” in honor of Dick Cheney’s recent hunting accident. Or in 2009, when the Wranglers and their opponents, the Bakersfield Condors, dressed in prison garb and orange jumpsuits, poking fun at the then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s federal corruption investigation.
Whatever the occasion, the Wranglers are focused on giving fans a little variety.
“Promotional jerseys allow us to do something different for the fans, whether it’s a one-off event like Rod Blagojevich Prison Uniform Night, which we did a few years ago for fun, or whether it’s part of contributing to a cause, such as our Pink in the Rink jerseys,” says Wranglers Director of CSPlus & Community Relations, Lyndsi Erickson.
“It’s a change of pace that lets us have a little fun and ideally gets recognition from the media as well.”
Players have been asked to wear some bold designs over the past few years, but surprisingly it’s not their sense of humor that the team has to worry about. Rather, it’s their superstitions.
“Generally speaking, the guys don’t seem to mind too much when we have them wearing specialty jerseys – they know it’s just part of their job,” says Erickson.
“What’s most noticeable is that their superstitions come out if they win or lose during the game. When they win, they joke about wearing the jerseys again, when they lose, obviously it’s the opposite. “
But sometimes the winning happens off the ice.
Supporting local charities is an important aspect of the Wranglers’ organization, and sporting a jersey, like the March 2010 Girl Scout uniform, is a great way to bring some attention to the cause.
“For us, it’s really about building an entire experience, and not just creating a jersey. We want whatever themes we choose to have some depth to them that we can work with in other ways,” explains Erickson.
Planning themed activities and getting the fans involved through jersey auctions are a few notable ways the Wranglers develop an experience. Jersey auctions, which normally take place during the game and close after the second intermission, depend on a lot of factors but have been a successful marketing technique for the Wranglers.
“The success of the auctions depends on a lot of factors,” says Erickson, explaining that, “…if fan favorites are on the ice that night, what the jersey looks like, [and] the overall appeal of the theme…” can contribute the to the sales and overall success of the jersey auction.
Over the years the fans have grown to love a few jerseys more than others, resulting in second and third editions of the jersey – most notably, the Friday the Thirteenth and St. Patrick’s Day jerseys become fan favorites.
“Fan reaction varies widely depending on the jersey,” says Erickson.
“We’ve had some incredibly popular jerseys…and we’ve had a few that fans weren’t so impressed with. That is a big part of why we try to make it about the experience as well. We realize not everyone is going to love every specialty jersey, but we create nights around them that will invoke positive reactions regardless. “
The Wranglers encourage any local community groups or non-profit agencies who are interested in getting involved in a Wranglers promotional jersey night to call their front office (702) 471-7825.
“Successful nights require months of planning, and we’re always looking for new and unique groups to get involved with, “ Erickson said.