NHL Hopes Superheroes Reach New Fans
The National Hockey League and SLG Entertainment, LLC led by Stan Lee today announced their intention to form Guardian Media Entertainment, a partnership that aims to broaden the NHL's audience through its own super hero franchise. The Guardian Project will encompass the creation of 30 Guardians (one to represent each NHL team) as a new series of superheroes, with a creative concept that organically and authentically incorporates various NHL elements but is not set in the world of hockey.
"I've always believed that every great plan starts with a great story," says Mr. Lee. "In the creation of GME and its unique and unprecedented relationship with the NHL, I truly believe we have the perfect combination from which to launch 30 new superheroes and excite young fans around the globe."
Created and developed by Stan Lee and Tony Chargin, EVP of GME Creative Affairs and Jake Shapiro, each Guardian has been derived from its corresponding hockey team, complete with special powers representative of each team and city. These 30 Guardians will be unveiled together in a presentation during the 2011 NHL All-Star Game on January 30 in Raleigh, NC.
"To be in business with Stan Lee and to be able to bring his latest superheroes to our fans is incredibly exciting to all of us at the NHL," explained Brian Jennings, EVP, Marketing for National Hockey League, L.P. "We are in constant pursuit of new ways to engage our fans and to introduce new fans to hockey, and the business of GME does exactly that."
Gill Champion, Stan's producing partner and President and COO of POW! Entertainment, said, "This is a wonderful opportunity to expand Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment brand into the sports arena."
With an initial plan to reach tween boys, GME hopes to bring a new audience to the NHL, while engaging the existing, established hockey fan base "through a compelling tale of good vs. evil."
"The NHL not only brings enormous brand equity to the partnership, but also their built-in audience of more than 70 million fans worldwide and their marketing and distribution channels," commented Mark Terry, Chief Operating Officer of Guardian Media Entertainment. "To have the machine of the NHL, Stan Lee as an equity partner and the combined vision of all is the ultimate power play," added Adam Baratta, GME Chief Creative Officer.
Motion-capture technology by Vicon House of Moves (Iron Man 2) is being utilized in the project. A special teaser package will be unveiled during the October 8, 2010 panel presentation of The Guardian Project at New York's Comic Con.
The near-term rollout plan for The Guardian Project will include an online presence, mobile applications, publishing, gaming, in-arena, broadcast, merchandise, promotional and sponsorship activities.