In case you have not heard, there were a lot of Penguin fans at the RBC Saturday night. Is that really very shocking?
For those of you who might not be aware, the state of North Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in the country. Over the past 10 years, the population has grown by over a million residents. Where are most of the newbies coming from? Just look anywhere to the north of the Carolina border.
When people move, they do not automatically become Canes fans. Many keep their past allegiances. If you go to the RBC for any given game, you are bound to see jerseys representing a number of different clubs.
But why were there so many Pittsburgh fans at this game?
The Penguin franchise has been around a long time and Mario Lemieux has millions of fans, so couple that with the growth here and obviously there are a ton of Penguin fans in this area. On top of that, you have the all-knowing NHL marketing machine as well as Versus promoting Sidney Crosby and everything that is Pittsburgh, 24/7, everywhere you look. That kind of promotion garners a lot of attention and creates buzz wherever that team goes.
There are even some Carolina season ticket holders who cheer for the Sabres or the Pens, if they are matched against the Canes. Fans will cheer for whomever they want to. That's just the way it is, and I'm guessing it's not much different in any new market.
So is it really so shocking that there were a lot of Pens fans at the game? With targeted advertising the way it is, that's exactly the way the league wants it.