EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — How does an NHL organization kick off the season following a Stanley Cup-winning campaign? If you’re the L.A. Kings, you stick to your charitable roots.
This past weekend the Kings held a series of charity-driven fan events throughout Los Angeles that served as the unofficial start to the 2014-15 season, prior to NHL training camp opening Friday.
The team hosted a wine-tasting fundraiser benefiting The Guidance Center on Friday, Saturday’s 5k Run-Walk benefiting Kings Care Foundation and the Hydrocephalus Association, and finished with the annual charity golf tournament on Monday benefitting the Kings Care Foundation and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Although the centerpiece event of the weekend’s festivities – and highlight for die-hard Kings fans – was Sunday’s “Hockey Fest” at the team’s practice facility, the Toyota Sports Center, in El Segundo, Ca.
The indoor/outdoor event opened at 7:30am for fans to take photos with the Stanley Cup, before Kings hockey operations took the event stage to discuss the state of the franchise and field questions from the audience.
The day’s program took a lighter turn, with groups of Kings players taking the stage for various kid-friendly programming, such as a “Kids Press Conference” and “Hollywood Game Night.”
With rookie camp practice open to the public, fans also got an opportunity to head inside the Toyota Sports Center to catch a first-hand glimpse of the team’s future players. The day concluded with the team’s past stars on display, as the Kings alumni team faced off against the L.A. City and County fire department team.
For many of the Kings’ existing corporate partners, the event provided a unique opportunity to activate around the team leading up to the season. In doing so, these brands connect with some of the team’s most devoted fans. Two of the more prominent partners on display were Pizza Hut, which signed on as presenting sponsor of Hockey Fest, and Bud Light, which erected an outdoor bar area for fans to catch up on the NFL action throughout the day.
From a Kings perspective, the weekend’s events achieved the organization’s efforts to increase fan engagement in the crowded L.A. sports market, while engaging with the community through its charitable foundation, Kings Care Foundation.
The Kings sold out all 2,000 general admission tickets to Hockey Fest, selling an additional 400 tickets to the Kings alumni game. If that’s not a sufficient gauge for fan interest, the Kings have already sold out 2014-15 season tickets well in advance of the season opener.