In theory, fans voting for the cover athlete of their favorite video game makes sense. In theory, the fans will vote a player onto the cover that they want to see.
In reality, it doesn’t work. Especially in the National Hockey League.
Madden (Insert number here) is what people call an “evergreen” title. The game will sell no matter who is on the cover and no matter “new ground breaking feature” they include; though they will take it out in two years anyway.
Tonight, the NHL revealed that Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins won the cover vote for NHL 15. Bergeron is a very good player and plays for one of the premier franchises in the sport. There is one massive issue here: if you do not watch the NHL, you probably have no idea what a Patrice Bergeron is.
I believe the folks at EA Sports make one of the best sports games on the market with their NHL franchise and NHL 15 has a big next-gen debut coming up. It generally sells well within the hockey community but by having a guy that no one knows on the cover, it will be very hard to market outside of that fan base.
When they shoot commercials and print advertisements, the non-hockey fan will think they have picked an actor. This is no disrespect to Bergeron, but not many people know who you are.
EA Sports blew a golden opportunity. T.J. Oshie was also among the players who could have won the cover vote and I am astonished EA did not rig it for him to win.
While Oshie is not Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin, Oshie was brought into national prominence with his phenomenal shootout performance against team Russia in the Olympics this past February.
The marketing campaign could have brought that amazing moment into play and the non-NHL fan would have a better chance of remembering the smirk on his face than knowing who Bergeron is.
When NHL 15 ships out on September 9, there is no doubt hockey fans and I will be purchasing a copy and suspending my life for around 10 hours or so. I have no idea how they plan to market this game. It will be interesting to say the least.
I can only hope that next year, this silliness will end. I dream that when I go to pick up NHL 16, the player on the cover is someone who my Uncle Sal recognizes because he remembered hearing his name one morning while watching the SportsCenter Top 10.