The Power Of Engagement: A Look into the National Hockey League's Power-Play on Marketing and Messaging Plans to Strengthen Valued Sports Franchise

CMO Summit Keynote by Karen Durkin, NHL's Top Brand Exec To Reveal Winning Strategies on How to Recover and Grow Fan Following; 300 Top Marketers Gather for Networking and Knowledge Exchange

PALO ALTO, Calif. (September 5, 2006) — Karen Durkin, executive vice president of communications and brand strategy of the National Hockey League, will deliver a keynote address at CMO Council Summit, set for October 4-5 in San Francisco.

The CMO Summit, sponsored by AT&T, CMP Technology and Symantec, is the premier networking and thought leadership event for the CMO Council, an organization of more than 2,600 senior marketing decision makers worldwide.

Members across both the BtoB and BtoC market sectors control more than $60 billion in combined annual marketing expenditures.

Founded in 1917, the NHL has been one of sports most exciting and enduring brands. But in 2004 the league's future was on thin ice after a labor dispute caused the cancellation of the entire season, leaving a shortchanged fan base. When play resumed in 2005, however, fans returned to the arenas in droves thanks to power-play marketing. Durkin, who had joined the NHL in early 2006 and was immediately charged with overseeing the public relations, media relations, corporate communications and community relations programs along with League diversity efforts and Player promotional initiatives. Most important was Durkin’s role to shape and unify brand strategy for the NHL across all NHL business functions to bring a united and cohesive brand message to a growing and reinvigorated fan base.

Tapping into the CMO Council Summit's theme, "The Power of Engagement; Gaining Customer Intimacy, Insight & Inspiration," Durkin will reveal her strategies for future growth opportunities, plans to leverage new media platforms to appeal to shifting demographics and fan-base expansion in her keynote address, "New Channels of Engagement: Growing the Fan Faithful."

"Hockey's turnaround after a potentially fatal labor dispute has to rank as one of the great sports comebacks," said Jan Soderstrom, chairman of the CMO Council Advisory Board. "Winning customer acquisition and retention strategies will be key in future NHL success and we're excited to have Karen Durkin discuss those efforts."

Prior to joining the NHL, Durkin enjoyed a successful tenure with the Ladies Professional Golf Association where she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. She spearheaded the “Fans First” business plan, a precedent-setting initiative including public relations, brand strategy and development, advertising and market research that significantly increased television viewership, tournament attendance and the LPGA’s profile in sports entertainment. Durkin has been sited by Sports Illustrated as the #3 most influential woman in golf, thanks in part to her creation of the first-ever formal brand positioning of the LPGA, culminating in the successful “These Girls Rock” campaign.

In addition to Durkin's keynote, highly interactive panel discussions on such topics as customer equity, building new channels of customer engagement, achieving high customer return, and more will be presented by a number of chief marketing executives from name-brand companies, including AT&T, Cardinal Health, CompUSA, FUBU, MicrosoftTV,, Palm, Scottrade and the U.S. Postal Service.

For more information on the CMO Council Summit or to register, please go to . Summit attendees need to join the CMO Council first in order to attend this special event, and can nominate themselves at . There are no membership dues to join the Council; however applicants must hold a senior marketing position to meet eligibility requirements.

About the CMO Council

The CMO Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior marketing and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. More than 2,600 top marketing executives are represented on the CMO Council, accounting for well over $500 billion in aggregated annual revenues. Visit the CMO Council website to find out about the initiatives geared to address executive marketers' challenges at