The mystery of ORG Packaging and the NHL Playoffs

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One of my courses this semester is “Digital Media in Practice” and while we just started, it already has me thinking in a different way. I am going to warn you though, once you read this blog entry you will start to notice something that may take away from your enjoyment of the Stanley Cup playoffs. My enjoyment of the playoffs was taken away by Anaheim when they beat Edmonton in Game 7, but that is another story. This is the kind of thing that you have probably ignored but once you see it you will be amazed at how often it appears in the arenas of NHL teams. So, with that forewarning, here is a photo of a rink board at the Boston Garden:

After a little googling I discovered that ORG Packaging is in the business of beverage packaging (Bloomberg, 2017) and has annual revenue of 6 billion yuan or 1.2 billion Canadian dollars (ORG Packaging, 2017). This begs the question, why is a B2B firm that operates in China spending millions of dollars on rink board advertising. This article in the Hockey News sheds a little light on his motivation, linked to growing the game in China and also being a superfan and player himself. I still cannot imagine why a businessman would spend this amount of money. It is difficult to find out how much rink board advertising costs for this season’s playoffs but if this article in le Journal de Montréal is any indication we can estimate $350 000. ORG has advertised in every arena in the NHL playoffs so we can conservatively estimate the company has spent $5.6 million on advertising (16 teams X $350K per arena).

He is advertising a product that no one in the target market will or is even able to buy and in a place where he has zero market share and seems to no have no intention of wanting to grow market share. Is this simply a case of a wealthy Chinese businessman trying to get in on the ground floor of what might be explosive growth in an untapped market? Why else would Zhou Yunjie of ORG spend millions of dollars on advertising that he must know will have little discernible impact on his company’s sales numbers. Perhaps it is the same reason Billy Ngok Yan-yu, a Chinese oil and gas investor, sinks $40 million into his Chinese entry in the KHL. Either stands to make a lot of money if the sport takes off in a market of 1.4 billion people.

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