Courtesy Texas Stars
Cedar Park leaders are capitalizing on the National Hockey League’s lockout that has left many Dallas Stars fans fearing the season may be canceled.
At the behest of Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell, city staff launched a marketing blitz in December to lure unfulfilled hockey fans to the Cedar Park Center for Texas Stars games.
“I asked for this be to be put on agenda, having seen potential opportunity the national hockey league is currently on strike, or they are not playing, making the American Hockey League quite possibly the best-functioning hockey league in the area,” Powell said at the Nov. 29 council meeting. “I got to thinking, ‘I bet there are a lot of hockey fans in Metroplex missing their Stars right now.’ We want to let them know a short drive away is a great hockey team affiliate of the Stars, and maybe we can take advantage of the situation a little bit.”
The NHL lockout began in September before the season officially started, but the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars—the top affiliate of the Dallas Stars—have been at play since October. Katie Krampitz, Cedar Park Tourism Services manager, said the idea is to target and offer incentives to current Dallas Stars fans.
“We are using data from a marketing study to target those people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area who have a high likelihood to travel to Cedar Park to watch hockey,” she said. “Five of our hotels are offering discounts, plus Hemingway Bar and Grill is offering 10 percent off meals, and Reunion Grille will give a 20 percent discount under the ‘Game Time’ promotion.”
Krampitz said Dallas Stars season ticket holders received emails about the promotion Dec. 12. Ad-word campaigns on Google, Bing and Yahoo will target Dallas-area Internet users who search for words such as “hockey” and “Dallas Stars,” and lead them to the city’s promotional page www.cedarparkfun.com/hockey. Facebook and a North Texas sports radio station will also feature ads to draw hockey fans to Cedar Park.
NHL games are canceled through Dec. 31, and Economic Development Director Phil Brewer said the next few weeks could be the ideal time for families to visit Cedar Park.
"The weekend of December 27 and 29 is a great time to visit Cedar Park," Brewer said. “It's right after Christmas, the kids are out of school and people are looking for something to do. We're rolling out the red carpet hospitality and offering great deals for families and sports fans looking for a few days of great sports fun."
The city generates a 7 percent hotel occupancy tax for each overnight stay as well as sales tax from visitors who make purchases while in Cedar Park. Krampitz said the ad campaign will show a new audience what Cedar Park has to offer.
“It’s good for the Stars organization and also good exposure for the Cedar Park Center,” she said. “We hope it encourages the North Texas audience to travel here again.”