Front Office Fan

A Take on the Games We Watch and the Industry Behind Them

Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

Do the NBA and NHL Hate their Fans?

Posted by GM/VP of Fan Operations on Thursday, May 21, 2009

If their cheerleaders can get along can't the NBA & NHL too?

If their cheerleaders can get along can't the NBA & NHL too?

Ok so I thought about going into some in-depth coverage for this one, but a nice rant works a lot better for me. Being your own editor is so much better….

As of Sunday night, both the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs in the same building in a Game 7. To most Boston fans this means the Red Sox are all that’s left to root for, lucky for me I’m also a Boston Cannons fan. Sorry Boston Breakers and Boston Lobsters; you’re the ugly girls of the class. I know you’re there but you have such an annoying laugh and you won’t stop asking for attention with those stupid questions. That hooded sweatshirt isn’t hiding anything either. The worst part is you think you’re actually attractive. New England Revolution, it’s nothing personal you’re just not my type. Anyway…

This blog is neither about the two summer hotties in the bikinis or their three designated ugly fat friends that make them look even better by comparison. This blog is about the dilemma all Boston fans had to suffer. There were five playoff games for each team played simultaneously.

Here’s how I understand it. First, the commercial rights to the games were sold months in advance so you aren’t losing any money because of losing viewers. Second, you need to maintain some sort of consistency with your games to get the most of your viewers so they don’t have to choose between two games (like a fan with no interest in any remaining team choosing between Penguins blowing out the Capitals, or an overtime game whose score was a lot closer than the game was). And third, you don’t care about your fans or your sports.

These two sports are the only two of the four majors that need to worry about these problems. They already make concessions to one another by working regular season schedules so that teams can share facilities. Why can’t they make concessions about the teams playing at the same time in the playoffs? I don’t know how many cities could potentially be in this situation or with the success of the Red Wings and Pistons this decade how many times the leagues screwed that fan base, but I do know it is in the best interest of the sports to immediately work out some sort of contingency plan.

What do the NBA and NHL have to gain by insuring this doesn’t happen again? I don’t know to what extent this can help the leagues/networks negotiate television advertising revenue but it surely can’t hurt. What it can do, though, is grow the respective sports.

I’m more a hockey fan than a basketball fan which puts me in the minority amongst my friends. However, all of us wanted to watch both games. It sucked that we had to choose between the two, but if we don’t? Maybe next season I’ll watch more basketball and they’ll watch more hockey.

I think David Stern and Gary Bettman contrived this plot in cahoots with all the bartenders across the US. The only possible way to try watching both games is attending a bar with multiple televisions. And doesn’t that suggest that the NBA and NHL both advocate drunk driving? After the Bruins blew it last Thursday I heard this exchange at the table next to me:

Okay, who’s drunk but that special kind of drunk where you’re a better driver because you know you’re drunk? You know, the kind of drink where you probably shouldn’t drive, but you do anyway because, I mean, come on, you gotta get your car home, right? I mean, what do they expect me to do, take a bus? Is that what they want, for me to take a bus? Well, screw that. You take a bus!

Actually, that was Peter Griffin in an episode of Family Guy. But you get the idea. If a cartoon character talks about driving drunk a real person thinking isn’t too far behind.

Oh… and the NBA also hates its fans because it schedules playoff games and wrestling matches at the same time.


Posted in Basketball, Hockey, Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Denver Nuggets, NBA give the WWE a Stunner

Posted by GM/VP of Fan Operations on Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There’s no real way of this working out well for Stan Kroenke, and Vincent Kennedy McMahon is doing everything he can to make sure of it. McMahon:

Even though the Denver Nuggets had a strong team this year and were projected to make the playoffs, obviously Nuggets and Pepsi Center owner Stan Kroenke did not have enough faith in his own team to hold the May 25th date for a potential playoff game.

On August 15, 2008 World Wrestling Entertainment secured the rights to Denver, Colorado’s Pepsi Center for a live telecast of Monday Night Raw on May 25, 2009. That reservation is now in jeopardy as the NBA scheduled Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on the same night, in the same building.

How can the Denver Nuggets Public Relations staff possibly fix this? I’m sure if Denver wins most Nuggets fans won’t care, but what does this do to Kroenke’s image? Most fans prefer to believe their owner has a vested interest in the team’s success and the WWE is now working overtime to make Kroenke look just the opposite.

The most surprising part of this story is that the contract between the WWE and the Pepsi Center wasn’t finalized until April 15, the last day of the NBA regular season, the same day the Nuggets secured the second seed in the Western Conference. As owner of the Nuggets and the Pepsi Center, wouldn’t Stan Kroenke think to reserve the arena for his team in case of a playoff game or at least put some sort of opt-out provision in the contract for this situation?

Surely Kroenke didn’t lack faith in his team and assume they wouldn’t make it to the conference finals (I hope), but this clumsy management speaks volumes about the organization and could be a problem for the Pepsi Center to secure outside events for years to come.

Or you could just as easily argue that the NBA is, again, doing a poor job and should revamp this round’s schedule. In either case make sure to check-out the clip above of Vinny Mac being interviewed by his former employee, Jonathan Coachman, on yesterday’s ESPNews. It’s pretty entertaining.

Posted in Basketball, Public Relations, Wrestling | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by GM/VP of Fan Operations on Monday, May 18, 2009

ShaqensteinLike every other social networking site, people continue to wonder how Twitter will be monetized. While Twitter may continue to find difficulty creating revenue, advertisers and athletes could develop a working relationship where their brands are marketed to their followers each day.

For those of us that spent Sunday watching the NBA playoffs, we saw one commercial that featured “Shaqenstein,” an advertisement starring Shaquille O’Neal and Ben Stein for Comcast and its new deal for an HBO service. While Comcast likely reached many consumers through advertising with the NBA on TNT, it could have reached over a million more fans that are directly connected to, and are a fan of, Shaq.

THE_REAL_SHAQ is Shaquille O’Neal’s Twitter page and he is followed by over a million users. An opportunity was missed by Comcast to reach these prospects by having Shaq endorse the commercial right on his page. The closest he came was a TwitPic presumably taken from the filming and posted on April 16th. A more effective means of advertising would have been Comcast asking Shaq to tell his fans to check-out the commercial he just made and link to the video.

Twitter is great for self-promotion, and with the athletes now on board, advertisers should use the medium to market directly to people that have an interest in the star. Twitter is used by many as a means of personal branding, that brand can then be used to promote other brands. This model will create more promotional opportunities for athletes and help advertisers connect with prospects that are likely to pay attention.

Posted in Basketball, Ideas, Media | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »