Monday, April 20, 2009

Dear Mr. Koules...

As many of you have read on Raw Charge, Oren Koules went on radio last week and spoke about the team, the Canadian media and bloggers. If you haven't heard it yet, you can get the link from Raw Charge.
If you don't want to listen here's the basics: Oren
1.was surprised that he couldn't put together a great team even though he spent a lot of money
2. ripped into the Canadian media
3. ripped into bloggers and their 'opinions'. Example:
“I think blogs, have really …given credence to that. All of a sudden if someone writes something on a blog, you know, someone that pays $29 for an Internet connection, and all of a sudden people now quote somebody that’s in the blog
-People say something about me, you know, or about our organization, even big time mediums, I always say the same thing. Did they call me? My phone didn’t ring.

John at Raw Charge posted this rebuttal. It's well written and I can agree with what he says.

For myself, I would like to explain the reason I started blogging about the Lightning. I have been a quiet Lightning fan for a number of years, which let me tell you is actually quite hard to do when you don't live in Tampa. It has always been hard for me to find out information on a team and have had to rely on various websites for my information. The Lightning website has been, well lacking in comparison to other NHL team websites. The media coverage of the Lightning has been minimal as hockey just isn't getting huge coverage in the local area, though I do owe their beat writers a lot of credit for covering the team as well as they can. The bloggers (fans) who did write about the Lightning added to the information I was looking for. After attending a game this year against the Lightning in Vancouver, where I wore the away jersey, I decided to start writing about the team. It was because of the lack of information about the Lightning that I decided to write about them.

Mr. Koules talks about how so much of this year has been blown out of proportion from the Canadian media and what they have said about the Lightning organization. I live in Vancouver, Canada, so I am regularly exposed to the Canadian media. I would like to point out that the Canadian media are just doing their jobs. In Vancouver, hockey is our dominant sport (we do follow cfl football and soccer in the off season). If you turn on the local sports talk radio station, they talk hockey hockey hockey. From 6am in the morning till 7pm (when the game gets aired) and then finishing off with a post-game show till 11pm, well it's all hockey. If you like another sport, you might want to go live somewhere else. So Mr. Koule's, the Canadian media do a great job of digging up stories. Yes they may blow it out of proportion sometimes, but it's their job. It is because people want to read/listen/watch about it, that's reason they do it. If there was no demand for it, the newspapers would shuts down (ie. Colorado), reduce staff or make reporters take furloughs (ie San Jose).

The trade rumours of Vinny Lecavalier started because the management group tried to shop him. I don't blame you for trying to see what you could get, but when the package offered by Montreal/requested by Tampa was printed, the Tampa organization seemed to downplay it as just a 'rumour'. I know I heard that more than one team was interested in that trade, but with Lecavalier being Montreal born, it was the Vinny to Montreal headlines that really took off. The 'rumours' would not have persisted so long if there wasn't some basis to them.

From what I have written so far on The Hockey Bay, I feel that I have been very fair to the Lightning organization. I have tried to provide the same type of information to other fans that I look for. There will always be a blogger out there that will take his/her opinion to the extreme but I feel those are in the minority.

Some other organizations have welcomed blogger's as "alternative media" into their marketing game plans. Bloggers in Washington have been granted full-season press credentials to the Capitals. Some bloggers for the Canucks get their stories featured on the frontpage of or have been used in the marketing to fans during in game stories, allowed interviews with Canucks staff or on bus/billboard ads.

Do you not realize that blogs are free publicity for the Lightning? I write this for free. I write this blog because I like the team. I am a fan. I would much rather be writing stories about the Lightning's playoff success rather than writing about what's going on in the off season. And as for no one contacting Mr. Koules, well hate to break it to you, but I have no way of doing that. MY e-mail, on the other hand, is on the right side of this blog and I would be more than welcome to any ideas of how blogs can be a help to the marketing of the team. Blogs are just a voice of the fans, and people that read them are fans of the team.

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