Posted by: Ian Ross | March 15, 2009

Maple Leafs sleight of hand PR magic

The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team demonstrated probably the best slight of hand in public relations I have seen in a while. And by that I mean distracting the public with good news, while slipping out the bad news unnoticed.may290outdoorpractice2

About three weeks ago, the Leafs needed to reveal increases in next year’s ticket prices during a horrible season and an economic downturn. So what do they do? They scheduled it at the same time that they sent the Boys in Blue out to High Park in Toronto to have a practice on an outdoor rink that the club partly built. Hundreds of fans showed up for the free event including Mayor David Miller. The perfect photo and video op with plenty of good news.

The media ate it up. The local television stations covered it. And the front pages of the Toronto Star, Sun, Metro and 24 the next day were filled with photos from the High Park practice.  The Star and Sun newspapers even shot and posted online videos that could be mistaken for commercials for the hockey club.

This resulted in little attention to the 3.5% ticket increase. For those who did find out, their anger was likely offset by the free outdoor spectacle.

Also, kudos to the Home Depot PR department who partnered with the Leafs to build some outdoor rinks. All of the players wore Home Depot patches on their jerseys and the hardware company also got great profile on the media.

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