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Thursday, 16 July 2015 11:05

K-Wings focus on re-engaging with community, corporate sponsors

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The Kalamazoo Wings hockey team is retooling its administrative operations to be more engaged with corporate sponsors and the community, executives said. The Kalamazoo Wings hockey team is retooling its administrative operations to be more engaged with corporate sponsors and the community, executives said. COURTESY PHOTO

KALAMAZOO — With an overhaul of its sales team, facilities and marketing strategy, the Kalamazoo Wings are looking to breath new life into its storied semi-pro hockey organization.

While the team’s new director of sales, Toni Daniels, didn’t go as far as calling the situation “do-or-die,” she said it was clear to her that changes needed to be made in terms of engaging with the community and finding more corporate sponsors.

“We have a rich heritage in this community, however, it’s been a challenge in recent years,” said Daniels, who most recently served as chamber executive vice president for Southwest Michigan First.

“The organization was not run the way it should have been in terms of being engaged in the community. My background is very community-focused and I know the key to success is having my sales team out in the community,” she said. “Kalamazoo is especially a community that likes to shake hands and have coffee or lunch. You can’t be in the office smiling and dialing all day long.”

Daniels didn’t have a figure for last year’s sponsorship sales or ticket revenue, but simply said that it “wasn’t where we want it to be.”

The sales piece is a part of a three-pronged strategy for the organization, which is also making a $1.6 million capital investment in its hockey facilities and launching a more calculated marketing plan.

Facility upgrades include everything from new ice and an ice maintenance program to new flooring, glass, AV system and more. Much of the existing equipment was original from 1974.

Daniels said the team has spent the last few years focusing on its on-ice product, but it needs to re-approach the business side.

“(All these changes) were well thought out, and if we’re going to make these changes, let’s be strategic about it and take the time to put the right people in the right roles and really think things through,” she said. “We wanted it to be ‘ready, aim, fire’ and not ‘fire, aim, ready.’”

Read 1693 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 July 2015 09:53
Jayson Bussa

Staff writer/Web editor

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