Cold Introduction

In his article this week Paul Balm looks at Panthers new entrance video.

It won’t come as a surprise to any regular readers of this column that I don’t profess to be an expert about anything (if you ignore the catchphrases of Reeves & Mortimer and the strange behaviour patterns of temporary staff). In fact that I’m pretty sure I prove I’m not an expert on anything on a weekly basis. There are plenty of people who are far better placed to talk about some of the topics I touch on than I am and I’d always encourage them to do so, if only so I can have a rest from doing this week in week out. There is one thing I think I understand though after 46 years and that’s me. I might be wrong about that but I’m pretty sure that I’ve now reached the point where I know whether or not something has had an effect on me and what it was.

The reason I said that I could be wrong is that having watched the new Panthers introduction video I didn’t really feel anything. These pre-game videos should really only be about one thing – getting the crowd involved. The game’s about to start, the opposition is skating about in the dark and the home team are about to take to the ice. At this point you need to get the crowd involved. We can talk all night about the over-use of the phrase “best fans in the league” and give the front three rows as many bouquets of flowers after but if you don’t do something to distract them from their mobile phones, their conversations or their trips to the concession stands then there’s not much point in the rest of the match-night presentation.

Everything between the end of warm-up and the start of the game should be geared to building an atmosphere in the arena bowl and your entrance video is a vital part of it. The music you play won’t suit all people and what will work for some won’t work for others so the entrance video has to be the cornerstone that keeps the whole thing together.

Ours isn’t. To be honest when it was first announced I never really understood how a bunch of people walking around Nottingham was going to get the team going. Why would it? That’s a genuine question rather than a pop at anyone who went. The idea, as it was first pitched to the fans back at the beginning of August sounded like one of those little films they show before each performance in the Eurovision Song Contest, you know the ones I mean, the quirky little films that show off some aspect of life in the host country.

Why would seeing a bunch of people walk past the Council House get me pumped up for a game? We haven’t come to watch the fans, we’ve come to watch our team play ice hockey so surely it would make sense to give us some of that instead? Give us the high points of the past, let’s see big hits, big goals, the good fights, players lifting trophies. Basically the things that lift us during the game. We want a rousing soundtrack to get the heart racing. The monologue we got is great for a meme (or whatever they’re called) on Facebook or a rallying speech in a dressing room but out in the bowl? Forget it.

For me, it should boil down to a simple question – will it bring those people in the seats into the game? Will they become the much vaunted extra player? Or will it leave them feeling cold. Nottingham fans can often be the type of people who, for whatever reason (and that really is a topic for another day) want to be given something before they react. Look at the largely turgid second period on Saturday. Janssen comes on and throws a couple of checks and the noise increases. At one point he lined another up and you felt as much as heard the sense of expectation increase. The entrance video needs to do that, it needs to draw people in.
We’re told time and time again that there are limitations to what the scoreboard screens can do and they’re true (and I have no reason to believe they’re not) then that’s fair enough but what’s the difference between overcoming those problems for what I’ve just spoken abut against doing the same for what looked like something out of an episode of The Walking Dead?

I said I’m no expert and I’m not. I don’t want to talk about the problems with the colouration, the sound quality or how it was shot because I don’t have enough knowledge so I’ll leave that to those that do. I can only talk about how it made me feel and I think I’ve more or less done that except to say one thing – it bored me and that is probably the worst thing it could have done.

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