Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Word is: Marketing

The Saginaw Spirit are the talk of Junior Hockey, thanks to late night television's Stephen Colbert.

Colbert has regularly featured the Spirit on his Colbert Report program, offering updates on the Michigan based OHL team and flogging their merchandise on air.

Making for the best marketing program a Junior team could ever hope for, Colbert who follows the Jon Stewart show nightly in both the US and Canada, has a world wide audience and frequently finds his antics taken to heart far and wide.

Recently he lobbied to have a bridge in Hungary named after him and the Colbert Nation responded with vote after vote. With that kind of power over his followers, it won't be long before the Saginaw Spirit becomes the home team of the Colbert Nation.

Colbert publicity reaping fruit for Saginaw hockey team
Associated Press

November 2, 2006
Posted to the Globe and Mail website

Saginaw, Mich. — Fake news has been very good to the Saginaw Spirit.

The junior hockey club has TV host Stephen Colbert to thank for the sudden interest in the team's jerseys and hats, which now are selling in places as far and wide as California, Ireland and Scotland.

"Our hat sales are up 25 per cent over last year, and Stephen Colbert has helped us in a big way by talking about us every week," Craig Goslin, the Spirit's managing partner, told The Saginaw News for a story this week.

When the team announced it was seeking a name for its new eagle mascot, Colbert — host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central — began pleading on the air for the Spirit to name it after him.

The team obliged in September, and Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle was born. Colbert showed the mascot's debut on his program and has given weekly updates on the team's progress ever since.
Goslin said the team recently sent 25 jerseys to California — the largest single jersey order to date. He said a man recognized a Spirit pullover he was wearing in the Atlanta airport recently and told him he was enjoying hearing about the team on the show.

"I gave him my business card and told him how he could order some merchandise," Goslin said. "He said he definitely would."

And the team is pretty good, too. The Spirit is in first place in the West Division of the Ontario Hockey League.

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