One of my biggest complaints about the business of hockey is that the game’s biggest superstars receive very little notoriety away from the rink. Part of the problem lies with the league for not doing enough to market its stars beyond the Crosbys and Ovechkins of the world, but part of the problem also falls back on the players and their agents for not seeking more off ice opportunities. I mean Gatorade and Nike probably do more to promote NBA players better than the NBA itself ever could.
So what does all of this have to do with Henrik Lundqvist?
To my delight, I recently found out that Lundqvist has signed on with IMG, one of the biggest marketing agencies on the globe. For those of you not familiar with how the biz works, an agency such as an IMG will help place their athletes in TV commercials and other media campaigns. Obviously this helps companies to sell their products, but it also helps to increase the visibility of these athletes and their respective sports.
IMG currently represents Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, among many other athletes. Unless you live under a rock, you already know how doing commercials helped to showcase Peyton’s personality and has opened up more opportunities for him beyond playing football (SNL comes to mind).
This is huge for Lundqvist, who will rely on IMG to make him more popular and recognizable beyond the passionate, but small circle of hockey fans. And this is just a start for hockey players. Only Alexander Ovechkin has similar representation, but if all goes well, hopefully more and more players are able to cross over and promote themselves and the game to wider audiences.