Off the ice, the Red Wings enjoyed notable success this past season. In addition to posting their best attendance figures in five years, the organization greatly expanded its commitment to Hockeytown by spending more than 1,000 hours in the community, visiting over 100 local schools and greatly increasing the team’s charitable fundraising through several new community initiatives. The Winged Wheel’s local and worldwide reach experienced significant growth in areas such as digital marketing and sponsorship activation while also consistently connecting with fans at a grass-roots level through the ongoing ‘Hockeytown Thanks’ initiative.
“The 2011-12 season was a remarkable success for the Red Wings from a variety of standpoints,” said Olympia Entertainment President & CEO Tom Wilson. “We’re fortunate to play in one of the best sports markets in the country and we are proud to serve as a source of pride to our fans and stakeholders. The Red Wings’ illustrious and ever-growing legacy is something very special and we take our responsibility as a community leader and the caretaker of the Red Wings heritage very seriously.”
Highlights from the off-ice achievements by the Red Wings during the past year are listed below:
ATTENDANCE AND ECONOMIC IMPACT
-Every home game during the season was completely sold out, marking the first time since 2006-07 that the Red Wings skated in front of a capacity crowd at Joe Louis Arena for all 41 regular season dates. Along with two playoff dates and the previous year’s ending, the total sellout streak for the Wings now stands at 71 consecutive games. The capacity crowds at Joe Louis Arena helped cheer the Wings on to a new NHL record for consecutive home victories with 23 and the best home record in the NHL as the Wings won 31 of 41 games at The Joe. The sellout streak also helped push the number of fans to visit downtown Detroit and attend Red Wings games at Joe Louis Arena to over 25 million since Mike and Marian Ilitch purchased the team in 1982.
-Michigan-based Amway, Inc. became the first presenting sponsor of the Red Wings in team history and Ram joined on as the official truck of the club. New and expanded partnerships with renowned corporations such as AT&T, Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Coca-Cola, Carhartt, Belle Tire and DTE Energy, to name a few, led to a variety of compelling integrated promotions that consumers throughout Hockeytown were able to take advantage of.
-The Red Wings’ official website (DetroitRedWings.com) saw traffic increase by 15% this season, receiving nearly five million additional unique visits compared to 2010-11.
-Videos uploaded to the DRW TV channel received over a million more views this season, an increase of nearly 50%.
-The number of Red Wings text alert subscribers grew six-fold in 2011-12, further adding to the already-vast audience engaged with the team via digital channels. Along with roughly 200,000 e-blast recipients, this group received more breaking news, exclusive content and special promotions than ever before.
-Detroit’s social media followers on Facebook and Twitter have doubled in the last 12 months, giving the Red Wings the largest Web 2.0 audience in the league at over 1.4 million fans across all platforms.
-The team recently released a new-and-improved, feature-heavy smartphone app which is currently available for download (free of charge) on supported iPhones, Blackberries and Androids alike. Presented by AT&T and developed by YinzCam, the Official Red Wings Mobile App provides users with breaking news as well as up-to-the-second game updates and is fully integrated with all of the club’s social media networks.
-The implementation of the Olympia Entertainment ‘Guest Connect’ customer service program at Joe Louis Arena in October proved to be a huge success. Approximately 34,000 surveys were distributed to a relevant cross-section of consumer segments this past season, with the Red Wings’ game day experience consistently polling in and around the 90th percentile in terms of overall satisfaction. Data collected from these surveys has helped and will continue to help the Red Wings create the most dynamic and engaging fan experience possible.
-Nightly-branded promotions – including Military Mondays, Two-Fer Tuesdays, Bobblehead Thursdays, Fathead Fridays, Meijer Kids Nights and Social Saturdays – proved to be a big hit with the JLA faithful all season long.
-The Volunteer Energy Red Patrol – an energetic promo team designed to amp up the crowd and coordinate all in-arena activities – made its debut at JLA this past season to great acclaim, successfully augmenting the Red Wings Game Day Experience.
DETROIT RED WINGS FOUNDATION
-Last summer, the Red Wings School Assembly Team, in conjunction with the Detroit Red Wings Foundation (an affiliate of Ilitch Charities) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, set a goal to introduce the sport of hockey to students at 100 local elementary schools throughout the 2011-12 season. The team accomplished their goal as the regular season concluded, reaching out to over 40,000 children and donating 200 sets of floor hockey equipment to learning centers throughout southeastern Michigan in the process. Current players Niklas Kronwall, Todd Bertuzzi, Tomas Holmstrom, Valtteri Filppula and Danny Cleary all took part in the school visits this past year, as did alumni such as Shawn Burr, Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby.
-The 12th Annual Toast of Hockeytown was held at JLA in November and proved to be a huge success as all tickets were spoken for shortly after being made available. Fans in attendance were able to mingle with the entire Red Wings team as well as alumni and local celebrities.
-In February, the DRW Foundation hosted a charity poker tournament at MotorCity Casino Hotel. More than 100 fans had the chance to go head-to-head with a Red Wings player in a game of Texas Hold’em, with the grand-prize winner taking home a trip for two on Red Bird III during the 2012-13 pre-season. This sold-out event was a huge hit with poker enthusiasts and pro athletes alike and raised a significant amount of money for the foundation.
-In total, over $729,000 was raised by the Detroit Red Wings Foundation over the course of the season through a variety of fundraising initiatives, including 50/50 raffles conducted jointly with various non-profit organizations at every Red Wings pre-and-regular season home game. Over 30 different charities benefited from partnering with the foundation in their 50/50 raffle program, including the Little Caesars Amateur Sports Foundation, the Wheelchair Hockey League, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan and the Judson Center.
-The Red Wings spent more than 1,000 hours in the community and helped provide more than $600,000 to local charities, non-profit organizations and individuals in need during the 2011-12 season, visiting children’s hospitals, military bases, reading to children and teaching healthy living and the sport of hockey at school assemblies.
-The fourth annual MI Wings Community Tour presented by ITC was held prior to the start of the season. This year’s tour featured two groups of four Red Wings players appearing at a pair of children’s hospitals, a military base and an elementary school en route to Traverse City, site of the team’s 2011 training camp.
-The Red Wings were one of five recipients of the Chris Greicius Celebrity Award given by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America for the team’s exceptional dedication in helping grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The Wings were joined in the honor by Justin Bieber, Sesame Street, Nickelodeon and Cake Boss Buddy Valastro.
-As part of National Fire Prevention Week, alternate captain Henrik Zetterberg distributed more than 5,000 smoke detectors to local fire department representatives in October during the team's 10th annual Smoke Detector Collection presented by Comerica. The fire departments then installed the smoke alarms to low-income residents throughout Metro Detroit who could otherwise not afford one.
-The Wings hosted their fifth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night on October 21, with more than $16,600 being raised for the Liggett Breast Center and the Karmanos Cancer Institute Weisberg Treatment Center with a myriad of fundraising activities held throughout the evening.
-In November, the Red Wings honored the brave men and women of the United States’ Armed Forces on Military Appreciation Night. With the help of Blue Star Mothers of America, the team collected 2,440 care package items. A fire sale of autographed items also raised funds for the Operation USO Care Package Program, allowing for 222 full care packages to be sent to soldiers serving overseas.
-The U.S. Marines assisted in kicking off the holiday season in the Wings annual Toys for Tots collection that brought in more than $10,200 in contributions -- a 181% increase from 2010-11.
-In December, the Red Wings raised $17,150 for The Salvation Army by ringing bells throughout Metro Detroit -- a 171% increase from last year's total. Head Coach Mike Babcock and Executive VP/General Manager Ken Holland led the way by bringing in over $7,000 between them.
-Multiple warm clothing drives were held at JLA throughout the winter, including the annual Motor City Mitten Madness benefit and a collection for Mittens for Detroit, a charity started by Hollywood actress Erin Cummings. These collections raised thousands of dollars and brought in over 1,100 winter gear items collectively.
-Several fundraising initiatives were held throughout the season for the families of victims of last September’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl tragedy. Wrapping up with a puck draw hosted by Red Wings player wives/significant others in March, the cumulative efforts helped raise more than $70,000 for the victims’ families, three of whom had strong ties to the Red Wings.
- The Red Wings’ concession stand fundraising program helped several charities raise funds for their respective causes all season long. Over $330,000 was raised for non-profit organizations such as amateur hockey associations, learning centers, church groups and local Boy Scouts of America chapters through this initiative in 2011-12.
-After a one-year hiatus, the Red Wings’ highly-popular Hockeyfest returned to kick off the new season this past September, with past and present members of the team appearing at JLA to sign autographs, engage in interactive Q&A’s and participate in various interactive games with fans of all ages. This sold out event was co-presented by 97.1 The Ticket and FOX Sports Detroit.
-October’s ‘Hockeytown Thanks’ tour saw no fewer than 20 Red Wings players making surprise appearances at local businesses throughout southeastern Michigan. This unique endeavor took place over a two-day period and encompassed a wide range of activities and companies including Niklas Kronwall and Patrick Eaves bringing breakfast to employees at Belle Tire in Allen Park; Nicklas Lidstrom and Valtteri Filppula serving Little Caesars pizza in Plymouth; and Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler serving coffee and donuts to Tim Hortons patrons in Southfield.
-In February, the Red Wings held an outdoor practice at downtown Detroit’s Clark Park. Presented in partnership with Tim Hortons and Kroger, over 2,000 fans attended this historic event, which raised nearly two thousand dollars for the Clark Park Coalition as well as 874 food items, primarily canned goods, for Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan and 189 pieces of used hockey equipment, including skates and helmets, for Clark Park and the Detroit Hockey Association’s hockey programs.
-To commemorate Hockey Weekend Across America, the Red Wings hosted 24 Hours of Hockey at The Joe in February, affording players of all ages and skill sets the opportunity to skate on the same ice surface as their NHL heroes.
-In April, the Red Wings teamed up with Coca-Cola and Meijer to present the 2012 edition of Fan Day at JLA. This year’s Fan Day at The Joe featured photo opportunities with the Red Wings’ 2008 Stanley Cup championship banner as well as the team’s official zamboni, autographs from members of the Red Wings Alumni Association, multiple interactive hockey zones, an open skate on the main ice surface at The Joe and a wide variety of prizes and promotions.
-On February 9, the NHL announced that the Red Wings would be hosting the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Scheduled to take place on January 1 of next year, this event is set to take place at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and is expected to set an all-time attendance record for an outdoor hockey game. The Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park will also be staged prior to the Winter Classic, a multi-day event featuring a myriad of hockey-related activities as well as NCAA, CHL and AHL games in addition to an alumni showdown featuring former Detroit and Toronto players. Information about the Winter Classic and Hockeytown Winter Festival can be found on a new micro-site created specifically for these events: DetroitRedWings.com/2013WinterClassic.