Tackling a New Venture – The Green Bay Gamblers Turnaround

It was a gamble when PMI Entertainment Group purchased the Green Bay Gamblers Hockey Team in 2001. A new venture for the entertainment management group that was used to hosting concerts and boat shows, they were ready for the challenge. And learned a lot by failure. Many failures.

Over six years, the Gamblers changed their logo six times and tried to remarket themselves. It wasn’t working and the team had a continually losing record. In 2007, Brendan Bruss of PMI assumed team management. It wasn’t something he was familiar with, but knew a consistent message and change of attitude was necessary to turn the team (and hopefully attendance) around.

He started with creating a brand vision of attitude and swagger. The entire organization needed to grasp the identity and meld it into the marketing and branding materials. It started with hiring a new coach with tremendous personality, Jon Cooper, who became the face of the Gamblers and give the team some edge. They were feisty and willing to play anyone, any place, any time. Everyone in the organization had to buy into the new attitude for the marketing plan to work. Over time it happened and Brendan’s vision for the team finally came to fruition when they started winning.

Since their inception into the United States Hockey League in 1994 the Green Bay Gamblers have been one of the premiere junior “A” hockey franchises in all of North America. To their credit the Gamblers have won two Junior A, Tier 2 National Championships (Gold Cups in 1996 and 1997), five Anderson Cups (1996, 1997, 2009, 2010, and 2012), four Clark Cups (1996, 2000, 2010, and 2012), four USHL Eastern Division titles, and one USHL Northern Division title. Since the USHL became Tier 1 in 2002, the Clark Cup also represents that level’s national championship.

Their record speaks for itself.

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