You might remember that, last week, I solicited some questions for Danny Zollars, the Kings’ new director of game presentation and events at Staples Center. You, collectively, came up with some very good questions/issues, and since it’s impossible to ask 200-plus questions, I tried to narrow them down to the most popular themes (after eliminating those that didn’t pertain to Danny’s job). As Danny noted, though, he read through every comment, so you can be sure that your voice was heard. Hopefully you will find this helpful, and if you have a more specific question for Danny, you can reach him on Twitter — @LAKingsGameEnt — where he will be taking questions and suggestions from fans year-round. Here’s the questions and answers with Danny…
1. Do you have any thoughts about possibly expanding the use of watch parties? Perhaps going into different areas of Southern California?
ZOLLARS: “Right now we have a great partnership with Hooters, and we rotate between their locations for our watch parties. Also, there are watch parties at our partner ESPN Zone at LA Live, as well as other locations throughout the season. Those locations have not yet been determined but we will definitely take this request into consideration. We want to make sure all of our fans can celebrate those road wins with us!”
2. The “South Park’’ videos on the board are very popular with fans. Any thoughts on continuing those, expanding them or doing something similar in the future?
ZOLLARS: “I love these videos too! This is my first season with the Kings so I had no idea this was done. We actually are in the process of creating some new ones and updating the old ones with our new jerseys. Trey and Matt (South Park creators) actually work on these and are creating two brand new ones specific to opening night so stay tuned. I haven’t seen them yet but they will be a little edgier.”
3. Fans have talked about cities such as Montreal, that do some creative things with their pregame videos. How much do you look at other teams/arenas for inspiration?
ZOLLARS: “We notice what other teams are doing but we feel like we are leading the charge when it comes to game-day production. I will probably travel to a few different markets to check out what they are doing and pull some of the best practices. Any cities I should check out? I have been in the NBA the last nine years so I know what everyone does there but the NHL teams do an unreal job because of the increased amount of introduction time you have over the NBA. I have heard about Montreal and I have been to a lot of Capitals games as well. The Caps games have a great experience that grew organically from the fans. We need all of our fans to come loud and ready to rock at every game this season!”
4. There’s a strong debate about in-game entertainment, about the types of things — music, PA announcements, etc. — that take place during stoppages in play. Is there a thing as having too much stimulation? What’s your feeling on entertainment vs. having a bit of silence?
ZOLLARS: “That’s the age old question in game entertainment. It’s a slippery slope because the fan in me wants to have some silence here and there but we are running a business and the inventory during the game is a revenue generator for us. We will do as much as we can to keep it about hockey but there will still be a lot of entertainment as well PA reads during the game. It’s something that everyone in sports deals with, and finding that balance is not always the easiest. I can promise that I will work to create the best experience we can and work to make sure the games don’t feel the exact same for our fans who are here every night. One thing I will need from everyone is your patience as we make these transitions. It won’t happen over night but we are on the path to that goal.”
5. Any chance that the lineup cards will come back in some form?
ZOLLARS: “I read through every comment and question yesterday and the lineup cards were a pretty major topic. AEG and the Kings are leaders in going green and this was something that was really eating up a ton of paper on a nightly basis. In the digital world we are in today, we thought that the majority of people would be pulling this info from their smart phones and computers. We are doing our due diligence in regards to bringing these back in the future so stay tuned.”
6. The images/videos that have been projected on the ice from time to time have been popular. Do you see yourself using those in the future?
ZOLLARS: “We will be utilizing the on ice projections for our opening video this year. You won’t see as many highlights as you have seen in the past but we will be focusing on creating more accents as to what we are doing on the video board. We will show logos, graphics and things like that. The size and the light that emits from our new board drowns out the on-ice projections a little bit so we need to change that strategy.”
7. Music selection is another much-debated topic. There seems to be a wide variety, from heavy metal to Lady Gaga and everything in between. What is your opinion on that variety, as opposed to having a consistent “theme’’ with the music and staying with it? Do you believe in using pop music to appeal to the younger demographic?
ZOLLARS: “For those of you who attended the first two preseason games, did you notice a difference in music? You should have because that has been a big topic as of late and is a big topic for all arenas. For every 10 emails I get saying “We love metal. More Pantera!” I get another 10 saying “Quit playing metal. Give us some country”. Take a listen over the first few games and let me know. I can promise we will cut down on the Katy Perry and Lady Gaga and will focus on more of the traditional organ songs you would hear at a game. Hit me up on Twitter (@LAKingsGameEnt) with suggestions but at least listen over the course of a few games.”
8. Also, the volume of music is a regular discussion point. Some say too loud, others say not loud enough. What’s the balance?
ZOLLARS: “We watch the decibel levels and we ride them throughout the game. It’s the same as music preference; everyone has a different level they are comfortable with. We want the place rocking every night so we want the fans to be the ones creating the noise. Sometimes we help by pumping up music and asking everyone to “Make Noise” but we definitely watch the decibel level.”
9. There have been questions about how certain sections/people are selected for in-game giveaways. How is that determined?
ZOLLARS: “That sentiment has been expressed before but my goal is to reach all sections and evenly distribute to all areas of the arena. We actually plan where we are going and move our way around the arena all season long.”
10. The goal horn seemed noticeably softer during the preseason. Is there a change, and will it stay?
ZOLLARS: “We heard from some fans that it was too loud so we decided to lower the volume for a test. We have two horns in the rafters and we unplugged one of them to see what it would sound like. We got mixed reviews and are trying to figure it out. We will have the right level ready for opening night.”
11. A couple years ago, the Kings introduced the “castle’’ for pregame introductions. It gets mixed reviews, as does the overall introduction package. Do you have any thoughts on possibly altering or improving the package?
ZOLLARS: “Come to opening night, get in your seats early and watch the intros. We have a great video with some cool effects so the overall introduction package will be different than last year. We will be mixing it up a few times this year so stay tuned for new videos. We are always looking for ways to improve and grow so you may see something different from the castle doors but we will be utilizing them as the season starts. They are pretty cool and based on the reaction we get when we go to that live shot, there are still a ton of people who love them.”