NHL Apparel Fight! Lightning’s Partial Ban of Bruins Gear Rankles Boston Fans, Play-by-Play Guy
Though a few teams, including Promo Marketing’s hometown heroes, the Philadelphia Flyers, put together a few feel-good narratives this past season, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins hogged the headlines among the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference squads. Finishing with the top marks in the 16-club alignment, the heavyweights are contesting a compelling second-round playoff series, and, thanks to last night’s 4-2 triumph by the Lightning that knotted the duel at a game apiece, Bolts fans will have at least one more chance to catch action at Amalie Arena, where their overseers are implementing an apparel policy that has the visitors’ supporters and play-by-play announcer feeling like bears poked when sleeping.
Winning on the road can prove a tough task no matter the sport or time of year, but this year’s NHL postseason slate has found the guests more than holding their own among thousands of detractors. Since the Bruins took the regular-season series against the Lightning three games to one, management had obviously hoped captain Steven Stamkos and his cohorts would take the first two tilts on home ice, but the Bruins orchestrated a split with their 6-2 demolition in Game 1. Tampa Bay management, though, yet again made sure that Lightning fans stood out in the crowd, as they restricted the spaces in the arena where Boston buffs could rock Bruins fan apparel.
Accounting for 9 percent to 10 percent of the seats at Amalie Arena, which has the league’s second-largest capacity, the designated spots make up the location’s Chase Club and Lexus Lounge, with membership services executive Dan Schlindwein having reminded the visitors’ advocates that items and apparel bearing Bruins branding or logos would necessitate intervention, a move that the B’s aforementioned play-by-play man, Jack Edwards, incredulously addressed in a tweet.
This, I thought, was a joke.
But it's real. @BrendanMower sent it to me.
Tampa: you have become a GREAT hockey town.
Embrace the passion of invading fans.
It makes it all the richer.
This public service message from the cradle of liberty and free speech: Boston, Massachusetts. pic.twitter.com/tiVKcFwWxD
— Jack Edwards (@RealJackEdwards) April 28, 2018
According to the Washington Post, the Lightning have never imposed any sort of merchandise limitation during their annual 41-game regular-season slate. But the playoffs are a different animal, and the organization took multiple measures to absolve Bruins fans of their supposed sin of daring to proclaim their pride throughout the arena. 985 The Sports Hub noted the Lightning have made this a common practice come the scrutinized spring matchups, and since the Bruins have become reputable rivals, this particular instance has made even more apparent how management handles the bold backers of opposing teams. Via the site:
And according to Amalie Arena's policy page, an invader into that 10 percent of the 20,500-seat arena is given four options when trying to check into these home-only sections: They're allowed to check their unwelcoming gear at guest services to be picked up later and given an unbranded blue or black shirt to don for the night, they can go back to their hotel, change and return to the arena thanks to a re-entry pass, they can get moved to a comparable seat with no attire restriction (and free of charge), or they can simply get a refund and leave the arena.
Returning to the earlier seating breakdown, we definitely realize that this policy affects such a tiny percentage of those who want to take in a playoff game while not pledging allegiance to the Lightning, but it is interesting to ponder whether the measure makes for good business and if it somehow fails to “embrace the passion of invading fans,” as Edwards asserted. Promo Marketing has covered the confusion that can come about when a fan plays the role of an interloper, so that matter and this one have us wondering what you think about sports franchises’ efforts to keep their performers top of mind.