NY Islanders go after Xers with splashy Web site

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Most sports team Web sites function as bland marketing materials. But one hockey team is making an aggressive push for the Generation X market with an ad-supported zine focused on sports.

The New York Islanders of the National Hockey League this week launch X Ice Online, part of the team's Club X Ice marketing effort targeting twentysomething fans.

The site contains information on the team as well as a range of features on alternative sports and urban recreation.


Chase Manhattan, Ikea U.S. and Toland Spring have signed on as advertisers, and Adidas Sportswatches, Sony Theaters and Tower Records are promotional partners in deals negotiated by Interactive Sports, the New York company selling the site.

Sponsorship packages, which range from $5,000 to $20,000 per year, include banners, sponsored sections and customized components, said Andre Taylor, Interactive Sports exec VP. Ikea, for example, will have a section that addresses Swedish furniture design.

Potential advertiser MTV is in talks to sponsor a section modeled after its own "Real World" that will follow the lives of three Islander players who actually live together.

Ikea and Tower will host online chats and other promotions at their New York stores. Kiosks at the Islanders' home arena will allow fans to sample the site.


The NHL has a separate Web marketing initiative with IBM Corp. but allows its teams to form their own relationships with advertisers and suppliers.

While a new ad-supported Web site is a risky proposition given the Web's recent growing pains, Mr.Taylor believes X Ice Online will succeed given the interest in other sports-related Web sites and the promotional push the Islanders and the team's Web partners will put behind the effort.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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