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Hockey Gets a Dose of Reality

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Blending equal measures of reality TV and slapstick sitcom, a new campaign urging cable subscribers to sign up for additional National Hockey League games asks, "Do you live hockey?"

The campaign, featuring current and former NHL players, was created by Los Angeles agency The Ballpark for In Demand's NHL Center Ice. The premium programming service offers digital cable subscribers as many as 40 out-of-market games each week, as well as select games from the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The price of the seasonlong package is $139.

Shot documentary-style, TV spots present a mock TV series, Rooming with Roenick, which shows Philadelphia Flyers all-star Jeremy Roenick hanging out at his house with Anson Carter of the Edmonton Oilers, NHL alumni Pat Flatley and Glenn Healy, a fitness guru, Scott Williams, and a high school friend, Ricky McCarthy.

"We thought it was an interesting concept to draw upon what's neat right now," said Ballpark principal and account director Andrew Shevin. "The realness of using the players and alumni brought an interesting dynamic."

One 60-second spot has Roenick, the father figure, serving a pot roast to Carter, Flatley, Williams and Mc Carthy. A goal is scored on TV in the other room, and McCarthy gets up to see what has happened. But Roenick stops the others from leaving the table.

A 30-second spot shows Roenick knocking on the bathroom door. Carter is inside, watching hockey on TV. When Roenick asks him if he's seen the TV, Anson lowers the volume and replies, "Nope."

Another 30-second spot shows the guys admitting that all they do is sit around and watch hockey.

In each spot, a voiceover says, "Stay tuned for more Rooming with Roenick," and then outlines the offer.

The Ballpark has done ads for In Demand's Nascar package, and won this assignment in May. Ads are due to break the week of Sept. 9 and run through most of the NHL season.

Spending could not be determined. The New York-based client is providing spots to cable operators, which share in the revenue gener ated by In Demand subscribers.

The campaign also includes a 10-minute infomercial, a 60-second radio spot and two print ads.

The Ballpark's client roster also includes the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, the Anaheim Angels and ESPN.