[Ed. Note: The following article originally appeared in the Oct. 28th edition of Frozen Refreshment Business News and Ice Box Journal Daily. It has been re-posted here with permission.]
BROOKLYN, NY - Barclays Center, home of the NHL’s New York Islanders, is set to greatly strengthen its ice surface... with branding potential by entering groundbreaking sponsorship agreements with four of the biggest names in frozen treats.
The ICEE Company, Slush Puppie, Rita’s Italian Ice and Slurpee, owned by 7-11, all will have their logos featured on Barclays Center’s ice surface beginning this week. The brands will also have spot advertising across the food stands on the arena’s concourses and exclusive advertising on websites and apps for both the arena and the Islanders.
“We feel Barclays Center’s ice is a unique, fun and creative venue for these four special brands to advertise together,” said the arena’s senior vice president of dessert Ralph Luigi Marino. “Combining these delicious semi-frozen products with precise targeting on another semi-frozen surface will guarantee great exposure for Barclays Center, the Islanders and the brands.
“Fans will feel each game is being played on a giant pool of Slurpee. What’s better than that?”
The conditions of the ice at Barclays Center have come under great scrutiny lately for not being up to snuff according to the Islanders’ players. Following a win over Arizona in early October, winger Cal Clutterbuck called the ice “unplayable” and it was later revealed that the arena’s piping system - which uses PVC pipe rather than the steel - was below the standards set by all other NHL venues. To fix the pipes would be expensive and time consuming for the busy arena.
While the branding might not make the ice any smoother or the pipes any colder, it will definitely make it more lucrative.
“The success of this partnership is built upon our ability to deliver a symbiotic set of advertising and brand solutions that meet the expectations of our audience and the objectives of the country’s leading frozen treat companies,” Marino said. “Also, they paid us a lot of money and promised us free lifetime refills.”
The branding won’t affect the team’s attitude about the ice, according to Islanders coach Jack Capuano.
“Look, both teams have to battle through the ice conditions. I’m sure they’re aware of the situation and they’re working smart and hard to correct it,” Capuano said. “I don’t eat as much gelato as I used to so I don’t want to comment on how delicious the Italian ices are. If they’re made the right way - by real Italians - they’ll be successful. No question.”
Marino also said that should the Islanders qualify for the NHL playoffs, Phase II of the partnership will include selling Sno-Cones made with freshly-shaved Barclays Center ice during games. Flavors will include Tavares Tangerine, Lemon Ladd and Strome-berry.
Phase III, which would involve making the entire 200-by-85 foot playing surface out of drinkable frozen treats, is still under consideration.
This is obviously very fake and will probably get a lot more play in the Spring and for the next five to 25 years or so.