The Penguins are so appreciative of the support of local students and the “Student Rush” program that they wanted an opportunity so thank you.
Which explains why they are teaming up with the Allegheny Conference and its “Imagine Pittsburgh” campaign to provide free tickets for students to their Sept. 25 pre-season game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at CONSOL Energy Center.
They’re calling it the “Ultimate Home Game” -- and the idea is to fill the new arena with young people.
More than 8,000 of the tickets will be distributed to college undergraduates and union apprentices through www.ImaginePittsburgh.com
. The website also will alert students to the thousands of jobs currently available in the Pittsburgh region as an incentive for them to stay here, live here and work here.
“Nothing like this has ever been done before,” said Bill Flanagan of The Allegheny Conference. “The Penguins brand and team is very young and diverse and has a very bright future. We want to get out the same messages about Pittsburgh – this is a place for young people, it has a bright future and it’s a place for diverse people. It aligns very well. I couldn’t think of a better alignment in terms of our regional brand and what our aspiration is and the Penguins brand.”
In addition to the tickets being offered through Imagine Pittsburgh, the Penguins will also provide tickets to members of the Penguins Kids’ Club and to local youth hockey association. They’re hoping for a “sellout” crowd of kids from 4-24.
The Penguins brand and team is very young and diverse and has a very bright future. We want to get out the same messages about Pittsburgh – this is a place for young people, it has a bright future and it’s a place for diverse people. It aligns very well. I couldn’t think of a better alignment in terms of our regional brand and what our aspiration is and the Penguins brand. - Bill Flanagan
Students who wish to attend the “Ultimate Home Game” to watch the Penguins and meet with future employers must register for a special lottery through the ImaginePittsburgh.com
website starting Thursday at 9 a.m.
Once students arrive to the Imagine Pittsburgh website they can then browse through the 22,000 job openings currently posted in addition to reading profiles of fellow young professionals who are succeeding in the business world in the Pittsburgh region.
“If you are interested in financial service, you can click on that tab and find a profile to that young person which tells you what they are doing in Pittsburgh, why they came here, where they live and what they like to do,” Flanagan said. “The site is a great way not just to tell people what jobs are out there, but also making the case that there are other young kids out there like you accomplishing things. It’s a way to really show kids what it is like to live and work in Pittsburgh.”
The partnership between the Penguins and The Allegheny Conference came about when some of the influential leaders behind the “Imagine Pittsburgh” campaign came in to talk to the Penguins about tying the opening of CONSOL Energy Center with the regional publicity the initiative is promoting. During those talks the Penguins mentioned that they wanted to have a special home game where they donated free tickets to young fans. Through various brainstorming sessions the two sides realized they were a perfect match.
“Everybody is looking to the future,” Flanagan said. “The Penguins are looking to future audience development and we are looking, at least through next spring and beyond when kids are graduating, to let kids know that there is an exciting future in the region. The Penguins want to let them know there is an exciting team to look forward to. I think both of our goals are similar.
“To have the Penguins willing to do something like this is just extraordinary. The national and international visibility of a professional sports team like the Penguins – those are pretty powerful coattails for the team’s hometown to get to ride along with. This helps get a message out that is not just about sports. It’s great what the Penguins do for us all the time in terms of visibility of the name Pittsburgh. This really helps to get our name out there both nationally and internationally. Now that we can attach this message that we have great career opportunities here with the Penguins brand – that message is even more powerful for Pittsburgh.”
The “Ultimate Home Game” begins a season-long partnership between Imagine Pittsburgh and the Penguins to help make young people aware of the emerging career opportunities in the region.
While Imagine Pittsburgh’s campaign is initially designed to focus on students in colleges throughout the tri-state region, the goal for the future is to expand and include the large number of Pittsburgh natives who attend college outside of southwest Pennsylvania.
“We talked to the Penguins about potentially down the road doing an event that could really include those ex-patriot students and get them involved to understand there are opportunities here in Pittsburgh,” Flanagan said.
For now, the Penguins and Imagine Pittsburgh hope the “Ultimate Home Game” begins a great partnership between the two entities which shows local students the many great job opportunities which exist in our region and helps keep these students in Pittsburgh to continue our city’s rich heritage.
“The expectation is that the game will be the launch for what is going to be a year-long initiative,” Flanagan said. “Part of it will be giveaways through the ImaginePittsburgh.com
website to encourage young people to come back and visit the site more often for career opportunities. Some of it will be job fairs that our various partners are working on to bring employers in contact with employees. Some could be opportunities at CONSOL Energy Center.”