Organ Music in the Arena: Should Hockey Music Play to Benefactors or Court the Next Generation of fans?

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2017

Faculty Sponsor

Laurel Traynowicz


Professional hockey playlists serve as the butt of jokes from long- and short-term fans alike. A live or pre-recorded organ cranking out “The Mexican Hat Dance” and “Lady of Spain” may be greeted both by nostalgia and scorn. Hockey arena music ranges from conservative circus-like music to, less often, hard-hitting rap and rock. Hockey fans—largely white, middle class and blue-collar—react to their team’s playlist in a variety of ways. This study examined fans’ attitudes toward the music played at professional hockey games. By asking fans for their reactions to specific songs, and listening to them talk about the playlist as well as any recent changes to it, conclusions were drawn concerning whether the music catered well to the arena audience, or if the music needs to become both more diverse and modern. Whether old-fashioned nostalgia or modern music trends rule the tracks heard by thousands of hockey fans, there is bound to be disagreement regarding the best music to play during a game. Should the aim be directed at current wealthier fans who support the team financially? Or should tomorrow’s fans serve as the primary market? Recommendations were drawn for a specific professional ECHL team based on the demographics of patronage, both current and future.

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