Yesterday’s post on collector edition scarves got my wheels turning on a pair of potential projects that the Sabres could work on for the Sabres Store.
The first is one that came up in conversation with TJ Luckman a few weeks ago and the second is an idea that @MattyRenn has been preaching on for quite some time. Both would be entirely unique to the Sabres and both would almost certainly be items that fans would flock to the store to buy.
The first idea centers around a collector series of prints or lithographs of Sabres goal masks. The second, which is wholly and entirely the intellectual property of Matt, would be box sets of DVDs that chronicle great games and players throughout team history. I really love Matt’s idea as it gives so much latitude for the games they would wish to highlight.
The mask artwork is fairly basic and why they don’t already do this is beyond me. It’s pretty simply. Pick a handful of memorable Sabres masks – there are more than a few – and produce poster prints of them. I think it would be cooler if the posters were more artistic than a simply photo reproduction, but I’m sure fans would buy them either way.
Ideally, the team would produce this series of posters with just the masks. Let the poster background be very basic and allow the masks to stand alone as the focal point. Perhaps a small cutout of the player himself to add a little more to the poster itself (note the very basic mock-up in the entry image) if the mask alone was too bare bones.
If I was executing this project, I’d focus it on the past as much as possible but add at least one current goaltender on a yearly basis. Most, if not all, NHL goalies re-do their masks each season, so it would be a piece of cake to add to the collection each year even if you had a goaltender locked into a long-term deal. Additionally, if your goaltender’s masks weren’t changing enough, you could pull from past seasons to build the catalog.
I’d imagine these could easily go for $50 with another $25 tacked on for an autographed version and an even higher rate if someone wanted a framed version. The overhead would likely be fairly low since the in-house design team could do most, if not all of the work since all you’d need was a shot of each mask to work off of. Some of the older masks would be a little tougher, but it would wind up being a great project in the end.
Here are the masks I’d include:
Dominik Hasek (this one rather than his basic black or blue since the design is more in-depth)
That list could easily grow or shrink as need be. There’s 45 years worth of goalies to choose from.
As I noted above, I can’t take credit for this idea. So I’ll most certainly present it differently than Matt would. However, the foundation is too simple to miss. Sell DVD box sets of great moments in Sabres history.
The options are just about limitless. Collections of Hasek’s greatest performances, Ryan Miller’s best games, Gilbert Perreault or French Connection collections, the list goes on and on. Playoff series or playoff runs could be highlighted – although the amount of heartbreak associated with many exits might make some a tougher sell than others. Then, of course, you have just general collections as well; saves, goals, hits, etc. Again, the number of combinations here is nearly limitless.
The presentation would be easy enough. Provide the full, original Sabres broadcast for each game or dub in RJ over any national broadcasts when required. Additionally, it would be great to have Brian Duff serve as the David Attenborough for these collections. Let his voice guide you through various highlights or season recaps and then also provide one-on-one or roundtable interviews with key members of the teams.
I’d imagine each game that was selected in its entirety would come in three parts. The original broadcast, the broadcast with Duff and select players or coaches giving commentary along the way and then a sit-down discussion moderated by Duff with those same players.
This way, you not only have a choice for the basic play-by-play or the game with the director’s commentary voice over along with a sit down special featuring players who played in the game you just watched.
Just picture Duff talking with Robert and Perreault about the Fog Game as you watch the Sabres win in overtime. Or a group discussion with Lindy Ruff (he might be tough to lock down), Adam Mair and Marty Biron during the brawl against Ottawa. Cook up a few more situations like that (May Day or any deep playoff run) and tell me you wouldn’t shell out for a product like that.
The production time on something like this would be anything but short. But if there’s any one group inside First Niagara Center capable of pulling something incredible off, it’s the video production and broadcast team. While I’m not well versed in the ways of producing something like this, I would imagine doing a lot of it in-house would mean for significant cost savings.
While I’m not sure what the cost would wind up being on something like this, I can’t imagine the Sabres would struggle to sell them. Given the choice of highlights and commentary of Hasek’s greatest games, the 1999, 1975 or 2006 playoff runs or just a general Sabres retrospective, I’d want every last one.
I’d also hope that perhaps some of these would be good enough to run on MSG in the summers or perhaps fill time on NHL Network when they’re short on content in the summertime. It would certainly be an ideal project to unveil for the team’s 50th Anniversary, that’s for sure.
Many of the products in the Sabres store are either drastically over-designed and busy or simply unappealing. The Sabres have shown they have wiggle room when it comes to developing and selling their own merchandise. Why not take advantage of that and produce a few more products that have the potential to be massive money makers with the fan base.
If it came down to a Zemgus Girgensons player t-shirt or a DVD set highlighting 1999, I think I know the choice I’d make.