Saw V and the Tampa Bay Lightning

tampasaw 267x300Opening this weekend is the fifth installment in the Saw series, Saw V. In a rare breed of Sports-Movies cross promotion, the Tampa Bay Lightning are helping to promote the flick. Why? Lighning co-owner Oren Koules is also president of Evolution Entertainment, which produces the Saw movie franchise.

Part of the promotion allowed Lightning fans to purchase a ticket to certain hockey games and obtain free passes to a special screening of Saw V. The poster to the right features Lightning star forward Vincent Lecavalier mimicking other Saw promotional material.

tampasaw3 300x267Additionally, the team’s goalies have decided to wear special masks for the occasion.  Below on the left is a picture of Lightning goalie Mike Smith donning his Saw V mask during the first period of a game against the Minnesota Wild last Saturday. And thanks to GoalieStore.com, below on the right is an artist’s rendering of goalie Olaf Kolzig’s mask. It features Jigsaw, the long time Saw antagonist, along with other characters from the film. The hope is that these items can become collector’s item for fans of either the Saw movies or the Tampa Bay Lightning as the masks will only be worn for a limited time.

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Now you may think this is pretty tacky or simply another step down the slippery slope of advertising on player’s uniforms like many European soccer clubs. There is a silver lining. The masks will be auctioned to benefit charities, with Smith’s mask benefiting the Lightning Foundation and Kolzig’s benefiting Athletes Against Autism.

Still, one wonders where this may lead. Some may recall Major League Baseball’s attempts to cross promotespiderman2 Spiderman 2. The initial plan to put web artwork on the bases was pulled after an outcry criticizing the move. But is it only a matter of time until the next big promotion comes along? During the Spiderman 2 controversy former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent called the advertising “inevitable but awful.” The line between sports and advertising is always getting thinner and more blurry. As fans we have to decide what is acceptable and what is not. Baseball decided against the Spiderman bases after fan outcry. Should fans be upset at what the Lightning are doing? Or is this kind of action simply inevitable no matter the outcry?

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