NHL steps up pitch and access…Yoone. I didn’t…and more good hoops reads…

PR Move of the Day. We always talk about access being key, and today we wanted to single out the NHL for taking Media Post behind the scenes for their “Cup Changes Everything” shoot and giving reporters access to not only experience the shoot, but meet the players and go through the process of what it takes to identify and build stars. With Stanley Cup playoffs not that far away and the NHL trying to find ways to build brand equity and fan awareness outside of their core, this type of access for both the business media and the consumer press (by both the NHL and their partners) is essential. The Gatorade-brande. Sidney Crosby spots running on CBS during March Madness is also a tremendous step up (and outside) of the core fan base, and are another example of how the NHL is making the push to use this playoff run as a springboard to future business success. Well done.

With March Madness now firmly entrenched for the next three weeks, the predictions and bracket sheets for who will end up in San Antonio will intensify as we know. That intensity is not lost on the loyal legions of fans looking to get, or sell tickets as their schools move up or out of the tournament, and the secondary ticket marketplace grows with that movement. For those looking to follow the “ticketing” drama online, and to see potentially how experiential marketing can grow in the future, meet yoonew.com. Yoonew (the story is detailed on Forbes.com this week. is the futures trading market meeting the passion of the sports without the middleman of a broker. Fans can purchase “futures” on any team in the tournament (or any pro sports team as well) or purchase futures on a matchup that they want to see down the line, and if their purchase comes to fruition (say predicting UCLA in the Final or a Patriots-Giants rematch in the Super Bowl next year) the fan gets the ticket in the section of the arena where they placed their bid.the link highlighted here.While there are many secondary ticket sites out there now, this one appears to have the most experiential branding upside thus far, and may capture some of the better creative all-around experiential opportunities going forward becuase of the bidding platform they offer to the fan.

On to additional hoops links…si.com did a great job with all access behind the scenes following Portland State's first trip to the Big Dance. Luke Winn's tourney blog is one of the best in getting inside the teams and what it is like from an insider's perspective to be part of March MadnessSenator Barack Obama once again grabbed the sports spotlight by doing an analysis of his brackets, which once again endears him (especially to Tar Heels fans) to the young voter…another great move in his quest to garner interest away from the primaries… and one great NBA read is Mark Kriegel's piece this week on the Rockets Rafer Alston, who the columnist has followed since high school…there are few insiders who are also gifted writers like Kriegel and his stuff is always a must read.