The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently immersed in the most exciting season they’ve experienced in recent memory. Festivities began with the team winning their fourth Stanley Cup in June 2016, and continued as the 2016-2017 season brought with it the organization’s 50th anniversary.
Sometimes it can be easy for fans to forget that the excitement and celebrations do not simply take place on their own: the Pens’ communications employees, particularly their public relations and marketing personnel, have been hard at work promoting and planning for this season’s festivities since long before the banner was raised at the home opener. Special events, limited edition merchandise and special programming have been just some of the highlights of the Penguins’ public relations, marketing and advertising efforts as they celebrate their golden anniversary and bask in the glory of winning that silver trophy. While some of these activities are completed in conjunction with other front office and management functions, it is easy to dissect and evaluate the public relations aspects of each of them.
Fans of the successful hockey club have had numerous opportunities to celebrate the team’s anniversary with its players and coaches. From Fan Fest, to the theme nights being observed during five games at PPG Paints Arena, team event planners have set aside plenty of time for Pens supporters to play their own special part in this momentous season.
Just walk into PPG Paints Arena or a PensGear store and this one is pretty easy to figure out: big occasions sell. From 50th anniversary jerseys, caps and patches to 2016 Stanley Cup pucks, posters and T-shirts, it’s safe to say that this season’s sales numbers have been far from lacking.
If you’re anything like me, you probably watched at least some of the 50 hours of Penguins programming on ROOT Sports over the last few weeks, including “This is Home: The Story of the Penguins” documentary narrated by popular Pittsburgher Joe Manganiello. Maybe you even watched it with fellow fanatics at the arena or at SouthSide Works Cinema. Best of all, the proceeds from many of the commemorative products and events are benefitting the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, which serves as the basis for many team-based charity efforts, making the anniversary not only a celebratory event but a charitable one.
Maura Fenske is a junior public relations major, and journalism minor, at Waynesburg University. She serves as Chapter President for the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America, and as an Account Specialist for Red Brick Communications. Maura hopes to combine her passion for public relations, writing and sports in her future career.