The Sports Lobbyist

December 15, 2010 8:25 AM

Stanley Cup's Blind Pass on Capitol Hill

450px-StanleyCup.jpgThis week the Stanley Cup took to Capitol Hill where it was shuffled from office to office to be photographed and admired by Members of Congress and their staff. The Stanley Cup was used as part of "Hockey Day on Capitol Hill" in conjunction with the Congressional Hockey Caucus. Hockey and Stanley seem to have missed an opportunity here to really push some sports influence.

The NHL can't simply give away the attention and star power that comes with their greatest trophy and not ask for something in return.  When any form of celebrity ventures to meet with their elected official they typically come with an "ask" relating to an issue or concern. For an elected official to meet with the celebrity, get a picture and the subsequent press coverage the elected official has to listen or buy in to the issue the celebrity is lobbying. So to with sports lobbying, no sports player or organization should give away the attention that comes with their presence or in this case their famous trophy for free.

Contrast this with The American Meat Institute which regularly brings MLB players to their annual hot dog lunch to promote their meat-centric agenda. The likes of Mike Boddicker, Graig Nettles, and Harmon Killebrew are just some of the greats who have helped influence with their star power at what is now an institutional event in Washington. I recall when I was on Capitol Hill what a hot ticket this was which was only reserved for senior staff and people actually dealing with meaty issues (sorry, can't help myself).  Most sports lobbying gets it right but it's unclear what the hockey lobbying strategy was here.

I'm sure Hockey Day was a great success and it raised awareness for how great hockey is but NHL has issues they could be lobbying on. In the past the NHL as an organization has taken to the Hill to work on cable disputes. As for the players, they could be working on the ongoing performance drug issues or could follow their Canadian counterparts and weigh in on the safety regulation issues that involve the sport.

Not the end of the world, but hockey wins no trophies for this lobbying effort.


(image - wikicommons)


Maury Litwack is a recognized lobbying expert and founder of the advocacy training and education firm - Capitol Plan. Maury served on the staff of two Congressmen where he provided legislative expertise and political strategy. Maury left the Hill to expand the Washington office of Miami-Dade County, the 6th largest county in the country. His analysis of lobbyists, lobbying, celebrity advocacy, and earmarks have appeared in political publications such as The Hill, Daily Caller and and on the radio in programs such as AOL's Politics Daily and XM/SIRIUS POTUS. His take on ongoing tech advocacy issues have appeared in top technology publications Business Insider -SAI, TechCrunch, and Mashable


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