A lot went wrong during the unveiling of the Vegas Golden Knights' team name and logo on Tuesday night—the resulting attention and publicity for the NHL and its newest team, though, was more than all right.
After a delay in the ceremony due to technical issues with the video, the NHL's newest franchise finally revealed its logo and team name—Vegas (not Las Vegas) Golden Knights. The name beat out other top considerations including the Desert Knights, Black Knights, Silver Knights and probably several other 'Knights' of various colours, shapes and types. Owner Bill Foley also decided to drop "Las" from the name, claiming that locals prefer the term without it.
The technical blunder was awkward, a little bit painful, and maybe the best thing that could have happened for a league and team entering a market where gimmicks are a money-maker and (almost) no publicity is bad publicity.
Technical difficulties along with the unorthodox style and overall weirdness of the announcement created a perfect storm of opinion from hockey and non-hockey people, alike.
To be fair, the Las Vegas Place Holders is probably an accurate name for their roster next year.
— Bonk's Mullet (@BonksMullet)November 23, 2016
In fairness, the NHL let the other 30 teams protect all the good IT departments.
— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown)November 23, 2016
3) And oh yeah, the Vegas Golden Knights name unveiling tonight was also a hack job. Although not necessarily hacked.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann)November 23, 2016
The Las Vegas AV Club Knights.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus)November 23, 2016
Can't wait for that first game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Angeles Kings
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun)November 23, 2016
Technical malfunction here in Vegas. Fan yells 'it's all Bettman's fault!' He shrugs, yells back 'well, we can leave and take the team!'
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli)November 23, 2016
The way it all went down on Tuesday has people talking, and for the NHL—the first of the Big Four major North American professional sports leagues to break into the much sought after market—any and all talk is good talk. The league has been stuck in the shadows of the NFL, NBA, MLB and NASCAR in the overall American sports mainstream for decades, and anything it can do to garner some attention for itself among non-hockey aficionados in a congested North American sports scene is a positive.
The club is entering a market where no other major professional team has yet to venture, where the economy is mainly set around gambling, musicals, magic shows, concerts and hangover buses. UNLV basketball, high school football and the massive sports books Las Vegas plays home to are the major outlets garnering sports eyes in the area.
The unveiling and introduction may not have been the smoothest thing we've ever seen, but knowing it would absolutely blow up on social media and subsequently result in the Vegas Golden Knights being the focal point of discussion beyond the hockey world surely softened the blow. It had people talking about the NHL, and for a league which we've repeatedly told you sucks at marketing its star players (and really the sport, in general) to get this kind of exposure on a night that didn't go according to plan, is certainly a positive thing.
On the latest episode of our Biscuits podcast, Dave Lozo and Down Goes Brown talked about the NHL's lack of marketing around its biggest stars, which you can listen to below.
You can rip the NHL for how things went down, and poke fun at the Vegas Golden Knights' name and logo, but both came out of Tuesday night's announcement getting the attention it needed.
And at least the Vegas hockey fans are already up to speed on one of the sport's greatest traditions:
Just as it was coming out of the lockout in 2005 with Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, the NHL is once again in an enviable position to grow and market the game with a plethora of young talent—including Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Mitch Marner and Connor McDavid—ready to carry the league into the future. They are fast, skilled, unique and fun to watch. The NHL has the stars on the ice and personalities off of it to grow the game exponentially and prove that hockey is a cool sport, but to this point it hasn't helped its own cause.
There is a chance, however, for hockey to thrive in the US, including Las Vegas. And if you're going to compete in a gimmicky city, there's no better way to kick it all off than with a gimmicky start of your own.