Bruckheimer: NHL's Ultimate Mr. Showbiz

Here’s some info guaranteed to make Hollywood moguls feel bad. At least the ones who aren’t as rich as Jerry Bruckheimer. Mr. Pirates of the Caribbean and CSI franchises whose ice hockey obsession is well-known within the Industry is reportedly in talks with the NHL about owning an expansion team in Las Vegas. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has confirmed to SportsBusiness Journal that the league for months has been in discussions with a Jerry-led group, which also includes MGM’s Harry Sloan, about the glitzville franchise. Supposedly, Phil Anschutz’s AEG has a “standing offer” to Bruckheimer that it would build and/or operate an NHL arena in Las Vegas. It’s been said that the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which has played host to L.A. Kings preseason games, could be available as an interim home if a new arena has not been completed in time. The NHL is increasingly moving to expand the league from 30 to 32 teams and include Vegas and Kansas City. But the league has been unlucky with showbiz types: movie producer and former L.A. Kings owner Bruce McNall went to prison for his admitted role in swindling the NHL team, banks and a securities form out of more than $236 million.

It’s no secret that Bruckheimer, who is front and center at these Stanley Cup Finals, has wanted to own an NHL franchise, possibly the Penguins. Bruckheimer also sits on the NHL’s informal entertainment advisory board (which includes Barry Josephson) to brainstorm ways to better market the game and win back fans after the 2004-2005 lockout. While the NFL and NBA have higher Hollywood profiles, the desperate-for-buzz NHL works hard to get even B-list butts into its seats, according to Sports Illustrated. And the Entertainment Marketing Letter reported on the NHL’s tie-in with Warner’s 300. The league also has had product placements on the TV shows Bones, Boston Legal, Scrubs, and Monk. Last year, with the help of flackery Rogers & Cowan, the NHL created a celebrity recruiting program by distributing an ICE Card with an 800 number to call to score free tickets. Using it are Nick Lachey, Christina Aguilera, Rachel McAdams and Cuba Gooding Jr., who plays in a regular game with Bruckheimer. (Duo at a recent Anaheim Ducks game.)

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