How do you sell tickets for a National Hockey League team that doesn't yet have a name and won't start playing for a few years in an arena that hasn't been built?
If you're HMS Partners in Columbus, Ohio, you do it with TV, print and outdoor ads.
Four cities--Columbus; Atlanta; Nashville, Tenn.; and St. Paul, Minn.--were awarded NHL franchises in June as part of the league's planned expansion to 30 teams for the 2000-2001 season.
So far, the closest the Columbus franchise has come to hitting the ice has been the naming of its future home rink: Nationwide Arena. The team still needs a name.
The HMS campaign is hawking personal seat licenses--at an average cost of $2,000--which give bearers the right to buy season tickets for the unnamed team.
Not surprisingly, ads focus on the generic thrill of the game.