October 7, 2006
Brand Naming: NHL vs. Versus: Good Naming Teamwork
The NHL is experiencing some interesting shifts in its own brand and a TV brand associated with it: Versus (formally OLN). First of all, they have a new tagline (“Game On!”) that is set to appeal to loyal fans as well as the occasional viewer.
It’s a good tagline indeed and the supporting, funny commercials are meant to literally bring the NHL where it has not been before. Of equal interest is the fact that this launch occurs just when fans and non-fans will have to get used to the idea that lots of the games are shown on Versus, which used to be known as OLN, which, before that, was the Outdoor Life Network.
This alone is confusing and just might be one of the reasons the NHL ratings last year were so low. And while the name change to Versus is old news in the industry (it happened officially on September 25) it seems to have caught some hockey fans off guard and some were not to get full functionality.
But there’s a chance to score here: both the NHL and Versus are making a big effort to appeal to viewers and spread their brand names widely. This may be a double benefit for both names. Both the NHL and Versus are less popular than many other sports and sports networks, and both are coming off a stagnant year. Maybe times are a changing.
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