When leaving a professional sporting event, the chatter of exiting fans is often dominated by the turning points of that night’s game. Even an unaware pedestrian can determine the outcome of a match based on the tone and timbre of the surrounding conversations.
As can be expected among passionate fans, the difference between a positive and negative experience at a home game hinges on the final score. Sports-crazy Dallas, Texas is no different, largely. But much like the idea of hockey in the Lone Star State may seem backwards, so is the atmosphere at a Dallas Stars game at American Airlines Center.
It has been close to 20 years since the Stars last hoisted the Stanley Cup as champions of the National Hockey League. There is still pressure from the fan base to win, but on nights when the team suffers defeat, the exchanges on the streets surrounding the rink are still as likely to be about something seen on the jumbotron as on the ice.
Regardless of the score, fans come away with something to reflect on with a smile.
“I strongly believe and feel that if we’re having a good time, and having fun with the show, that it rubs off and the fans pick up on it and they have fun too,” associate producer/production manager for the organization’s in-game media team Kevin Harp said.
The Stars’ media and entertainment team has supplanted the organization’s skaters in the local and national headlines time and time again for the former’s engrossing and convivial presentations during breaks in play.
At a Stars game it is not uncommon to be captivated by human bowling during the first period intermission or a SpongeBob SquarePants video. Not necessarily a typical hockey atmosphere to say the least.
“Being a hockey team in Dallas, we don’t necessarily have to be a traditional style of arena presentation,” DJ Michael Gruber said. “We can kind of stretch the boundaries, kind of set the boundaries.”
Recognized as the region’s Best Fan Experience by JD Power in 2017, the Stars have become a staple in the Dallas-Fort Worth nightlife scene even with just two playoff trips in the last 10 seasons. This is because of the creativity and mentality of the organization’s entertainment crew, which has captivated and engaged fans in a way very few franchises have with its content and presentation.
“You may have that one fan that just turns it upside down, you know? You don’t know who’s going to go crazy and have the dance of the night or just have the look of the night. Those things are fun,” in-arena director Terri McCormack said.
No two hockey games are the same and that statement is even more true for an entertainment team that has to anticipate and react to a new script each night.
Over the next few weeks, MarketScale will provide a behind-the-scenes look at this team that is itself a behind-the-scenes operation. See everything from the drawing board to the unexpected twists and turns of an NHL hockey game in real time.
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