Why I am a Hockey Stick-Toting Celebrity Slut

Feedmee_215_1 Two recent articles, one in The Boston Globe the other in The Wall Street Journal, got me thinking about the intersection of hockey, philanthropy and stardom.  I promise there's a point here so stick with me.

The Journal article looked at how the NHL is wooing celebrities to be "seen" at hockey games.  Now, I know the NHL is not a nonprofit--far from it--but the two share similar challenges.

  • The NHL lags baseball, football and basketball (and bowling for all I know) in obvious "assets" like nonprofits lag most for profits.
  • Both have names and players that 97% of the general public has never heard of.  "What's his name?  Who is he with?  Who are they?" are three of the most common questions in any conversation about hockey or nonprofits.
  • Unless you're a fan, being asked to a hockey game is like being asked to attend...well...a charity event.  Bet the last time you begged off with "I would love to, but I have Ebola" it was to get out of either a hockey game or a charity dinner, right?

With problems like these, it's no wonder that celebs are the coin of the realm.

  • Celebrities are cool.  Events with celebrities are cool.  Meryl Streep recently attended a BMC dinner auction.  Very cool.  Get it?
  • Celebrities have rich and famous friends.  That come to your fundraiser and make everyone feel special and important.
  • Celebrities generate buzz.  According to the Journal, the NHL has offered George Clooney VIP passes to a game whenever he wants them.  I can hear the announcer now:  "Actor George Clooney is following the action tonight with his latest supermodel girlfriend...."  Men think: "Wow, maybe if I go to more hockey games I'll meet George Clooney and we'll party with supermodels."
  • Celebrities attract women.  A key audience for nonprofits and, increasingly, the NHL.  Women think:  "Wow, maybe if I go to more hockey games I'll meet George Clooney, he'll dump that bimbo he's with and date me instead."

A story that ran on the front page of the Globe last week about Cam Neely's support for a Boston hospital is a great example of star power at work. Who's Cam Neely? I don't know much about him either because he's a hockey player in a baseball town.  But by all accounts he's a good looking, well-connected hall of famer who has his own foundation.  What's not to like?

  • Cam is cool.  Good looking, rich, generous, sports star, etc.
  • Cam has rich and famous friends.  Like Dennis Leary.  His annual dinner and golf tournament raises millions, several of which he recently donated to his favorite hospital.
  • Cam generates buzz.  His events are always covered by the media because, well, see above.
  • Cam attracts women.  Did I mention that he's a rich, good looking sports star?

Now, I know why I'm a hockey stick-toting celebrity slut, but do you see why you should be one too?

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