One of the sticking points for the Anti-NHL-to-Vegas movement is to talk about novelty. The latest to bark up that tree comes from an NPR interview with Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times.
“The novelty value will certainly be very strong at first,” Elliott told KNPR. “Just the fact that it’s there. That it’s a major league franchise … that will carry a lot of appeal for a lot of people.”
How will an NHL franchise perform in the long-term here? Elliott said she didn’t know, “but for the first few seasons the novelty value will carry it.”
Elliot also used the same term, novelty, in her own column about the progress of Las Vegas Arena.
Selling hockey in Las Vegas will present challenges in a city built on gambling and lofty dreams, especially after the novelty of a new franchise wears off, and other professional sports leagues are sure to monitor this venture closely. Las Vegas has always been good at reinventing itself, and transforming itself into a hockey city might be its boldest experiment yet.
The concern is legitimate, especially in a city chock full of novelty acts. There’s one common factor in every success story in Vegas though, and it’s a very simple thing for an NHL franchise to achieve.
A compelling product.
Whether it’s Cirque Du Soleil, Hakkasan Nightclub, or even Gordon Ramsey’s Steak restaurant, they offer an unforgettable experience.
The NHL will be a novel concept at the start, but as long as the organization brings something great to every single fan who walks through the turnstiles, the “novelty” will never wear off.
The easiest way to achieve this is by winning. Great hockey will always garner support, it’s that simple. But with an expansion franchise, that may not be realistic in the first few years.
The experience at the arena has to be great. It has to be fun, for everyone, every single time. Achieve this, and just like every great Strip show, it will last forever.