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Sunday Thought – Lessons Learned from Hockey Night in Canada

Could Basketball Canada learn a thing or two from HNIC's new theme song contest?

Could Basketball Canada learn a thing or two from HNIC's new theme song contest?

First off, apologies for the lack of posts the past couple of days. A few too many concerts, late nights and high volumes of work put a few articles on the back burner but I’m happy to say we’re back on track.

Tomorrow morning we’ll be looking at making plays in the final seconds of the shot clock, and whether or not Toronto has done anything to address their struggles in this area. Does the addition of Jermaine O'Neal mean that Toronto has less need for a swingman who can create his own shot?

And later this week we’ll be looking at Andrea Bargnani as possibly the biggest X Factor in terms of a successful season for Toronto next year.

However this week’s Sunday thought starts with something a bit different.

While hockey is almost always out-of-bounds in terms of topics of discussion here at the HQ, some of you may be aware that Hockey Night in Canada is currently holding a contest to find a new theme song. It’s an interesting concept considering the whole thing started as an attempt to try and recover from the fiasco that saw CBC sports unable to reach a financial agreement with the rights holders of the popular "The Hockey Theme;" a theme that has been more symbolic of Saturday night hockey than perhaps anything outside of Don Cherry and Ron MacLean.

A recent discussion with one of my best friends who submitted an entry to this contest however made me think about the whole situation in another light. Upon listening to his entry, you can check it out by clicking here, I realized that losing the theme song might not be the worst thing in the world for Hockey Night in Canada. While I may be biased, I think my friend's entry "Ignite the Night," is the best of the bunch, and what’s interesting is that he’s someone who rarely watches hockey at all. Therefore this contest has effectively grabbed the attention of both the hockey viewing and non-viewing public and increased exposure in a show that already dwarfs the rest of the Canadian sporting world.

My question then is, shouldn’t the NBA be attempting something similar?

Many times here at the HQ we’ve discussed the issues with the lack of basketball exposure in Canada yet rarely have we seen many attempts to try and grow the game outside of Toronto. Sure, NBA 3-on-3 takes place across Canada each summer, and the odd exhibition game in Edmonton or somewhere else across the nation occurs (let’s not even get into the Newfoundland fiasco of some years ago) but other than that, what do we have?

I’m not suggesting the powers that be launch a "find a new theme song for President’s Choice Raptors’ basketball," although it could definitely be improved upon, but in this era of viral marketing, what about a "choose the Raptors’ entry music" contest? Or how about a "The Next Dancepak" reality show? In today’s media landscape, I can’t see how Much Music wouldn’t pick that up in a flash.

Mind you none of these scenarios effectively promote "basketball awareness" per se, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to come up with a number of other ideas that would bring the non-basketball viewing part of the nation.

Taking this a few steps further, awareness initiatives like this should be something mandated by the Basketball Canada. Considering the disarray surrounding the current senior men’s program, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a PR slant akin to what Hockey Night in Canada is currently doing.

Perhaps they blew it by losing the classic anthem, but they’re doing the next best thing in effort to retain their loyal viewers, and attract a few new ones in the process.