Last night, BC sports marketing professor Lou Imbriano tweeted "The Beanpot a great event and tradition that is clearly mismanaged from a marketing/sponsorship perspective."
While I think the importance of the Beanpot is overstated, I tend to agree with Professor Imbriano.
The Beanpot Tournament usually marks the time of year when the casual Superfan starts to really take notice of Jerry York and the men's hockey program. And Superfans take extra special notice any time the Eagles face the Terriers.
But with all the attention being paid to the Beanpot from alumni of the four schools from all over the country, the games are televised by a regional sports network -- NESN. Since I'm on the road this week, I had to follow along to last night's Semifinal listening to the audio feed from bceagles.com and watching my Twitter timeline. Now this isn't a knock on NESN's college hockey coverage, but doesn't the event deserve better?
I'm not sure Harvard alum particularly care -- as they are probably off ruling the world -- but Boston College, Boston University and Northeastern alumni all over the country have to be interested in watching the Beanpot, right?
The Beanpot is easily the best non-NCAA, non-conference hockey tournament in the country, yet the event is broadcast by a regional sports network. The Beanpot, along with unique outdoor college hockey events like Frozen Fenway, The Big Chill and the Camp Randall Hockey Classic, are the few events a year, if marketing properly on a national stage, that could really elevate college hockey from niche to more mainstream.
I don't have any delusions that college hockey can become as popular as college football or basketball. But I can't help but think the sport could at least close the gap on college baseball, soccer and lacrosse, if events like the Beanpot were given the appropriate coverage and marketed a bit better.