SBD/Issue 172/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NBA Hires Matthew Dowd To Repair Image With Fans, Partners

Matthew Dowd Looking To
Improve NBA’s Image
The NBA has hired Matthew Dowd, who worked as a strategist for President Bush’s re-election campaign, “to help the league burnish its image and reach new customers,” according to Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The NBA hopes Dowd will help “repair its reputation among both fans and partners.” NBAE President Adam Silver said Dowd “has worked on how to best draw information from focus groups composed of people who said they weren’t basketball fans.” Sources said that a number of participants in the focus groups “regarded NBA players as ‘thugs.’” NBA Commissioner David Stern said that he had not reviewed the results, but added that “people in cities where the league has teams had a better opinion of NBA players.” Stern: “If they were in NBA markets it was pretty good. If it was out of NBA markets, they weren’t watching our game much and only knew what they read.” The sources added that focus group participants “had a more positive image of past players,” and Soshnick noted former NBAers such as HOFers Bill Russell and George Gervin “are central to the league’s current marketing campaign” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/31).

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