Celebrating their 50th season in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, the Dauphin Kings began play in the fall of 1967, and have solidly established their position as a high-profile entity within the Dauphin community. The team currently plays all home games out of Credit Union Place – a 2,500 seat facility located in the heart of Dauphin, Manitoba (a community of 8,457). Throughout the team’s history, the Kings have experienced tremendous on-ice success, punctuated by 7 Turnbull Cups; 2 Anavet Cups; and 1 Western Canada Cup appearance. Notable alumni of the team include current NHL Coach Barry Trotz and retired NHL winger Darcy Hordichuk.
The foremost challenge identified by the Kings was identifying new ways to generate sustainable year-over-year revenue through their available channels. It was felt that there was a saturation of entertainment offerings in the Dauphin community, and those looking for something ‘unique’ or ‘special’ would be willing to travel as far away as Winnipeg, rather than seek out something close to home. Ticket sales in particular were found to be an area with tremendous potential – while the team experienced tremendous success with novelty/specialty events, this had not translated across their 30-game home schedule.
Sponsorship was also presented as another viable revenue generation opportunity with the inherent challenge being the small corporate pool to draw from and the difficulty in demonstrating the ROI through an investment with the Kings.
Initial stages of this assessment were completed over the course of a 2-day on-site visit to Dauphin & Credit Union Place. In attendance were several key staff members who were all afforded the opportunity to contribute insight into their individual roles as well as thoughts on areas for improvement and/or wholesale change. To supplement these findings, additional research was compiled by the Cosmos Sports team. Staff leading the research took into account several external sources including: academic journals, relevant books on key subject matter, Cosmos Sports case studies, and archived information made available through both the Dauphin Kings’ and MJHL’s respective websites.
When utilized in tandem, both primary and secondary research were utilized to develop thorough, yet actionable strategies believed to be in alignment with industry standards and best practices.
The final piece provided to Kings staff was a comprehensive collection of all findings, structured in the form of a reference manual. This was done in an effort to provide an easily cited material that could be called upon as needed. Serving as the assessment’s structure, findings and recommendations were presented within four chapters of interest: marketing, sales, delivery, & service.
Marketing: Key recommendations included the development of buyer personas, and developing ways in which marketing strategy for the team could be tailored towards serving their current niche fan groups.
Sales: Key recommendations included a five-year strategy for ticket product and pricing implementation, beginning with group ticket packages being available as early as the 2017-2018
season. In addition, best practices for approaching the sales process were also introduced, with training methodologies outlined.
Delivery: Recommendations highlighted the importance of providing true ‘entertainment’ value within game days, and how the value of a Kings ticket goes beyond the sixty minutes of on-ice play.
Service: Recommended that the Kings look at how both fans and sponsors were experiencing their relationship with the Kings brand. Also identified opportunities to engage with fans beyond the season, and continue building a consciousness about the team during the off season.