SBD/Issue 197/Franchises

Panthers, Rosenhaus Reveal Thinking Behind Innovative Campaign

Drew Rosenhaus Featured In
Panthers' New Campaign
The NHL Panthers "pulled off an ingenious bit of viral marketing" yesterday by launching a campaign in which agent Drew Rosenhaus is hired by Panthers fans to negotiate lower ticket prices, according to Greg Wyshynski of YAHOO SPORTS. Panthers Dir of PR, Publishing & New Media Matt Sacco said the campaign is "launching next Tuesday, but we're starting it now virally." Wyshynski noted the Panthers reached out to Rosenhaus Sports President Robert Bailey and "pitched the idea for the campaign." Rosenhaus: "It sounded like it wouldn't take too much of my time, and we were able to work it around my schedule. I was happy to play along, and shed a little light on the fact that agents and teams can sometimes work together for a good cause." Rosenhaus added that the "proceeds he's receiving from the gig are going to the Diabetes Research Foundation, and the team is also providing Panthers tickets to the clients." Rosenhaus had to clear the appearance with the NFLPA. Future plans for the campaign "include footage of the intense negotiations on YouTube." The Panthers have not said what the "result of these negotiations" will be, but Wyshynski wrote, "Why would Drew Rosenhaus [be] involved in an ad campaign that has him losing to the Panthers and ticket prices going up, you know? ... Kudos to both parties for a very inventive bit of viral marketing to kick off the summer" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/30). In Miami, George Richards cited sources as indicating that the Panthers as a result of the campaign will "lower prices in sections 107-111 for seats in the upper part of the lower bowl," with those tickets costing $35 per game "for those committing to a season ticket plan." Fans who have already bought tickets in these sections "will be given a refund to match the current price" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 6/30).

IN THE WORKS FOR A WHILE: NHL Panthers President & COO Michael Yormark said that the campaign with Rosenhaus "has been planned for 'months.'" Yormark added that the "official multimedia launch for the movement next week is timed to be right after July 4 and roughly 14 weeks from opening night." Yormark: "Normally, we would do our new business push right after the season. We decided to hold off on that because we didn't want to come out too early; especially since we're going to be investing significant dollars into our ad campaign" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/30).

SMART PR MOVE: ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg said Rosenhaus' involvement in the campaign "is just a bunch of good PR." Greenberg: "He acknowledges sort of that he's doing the whole thing with a smile on his face. But at its core this is what I've been talking about for as long as we've been doing this show. Fans need to organize, they need a leader." Greenberg added, "Would any of us have taken note of whether or not the Panthers adjust their prices for this coming season? Of course not. Will we now? … Heck yes! You're going to know, I'm going to know, the whole country's going to know because people now are going to follow this." ESPN Radio's Mike Golic added, "It's a smart move" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN2, 7/1). 

Writer Feels Panthers Should 
Focus More On Improving Team
WAVING THE WHITE FLAG? In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes under the header, "Panthers' Marketing Ploy Skates On Thin Ice." The campaign is "not just any ploy," as it is the "kind that tells you the Panthers have given up." Hyde: "They're not going to play pretend anymore. They're letting you in on the joke. They're really saying: 'We know we don't have a team to market, or any players you're interested in watching and no one wants to pay our ticket prices anymore, so let's push the humor to the outer edges so our fans get a chuckle even if they don't really understand it.'" Hyde adds, "Here's something even edgier for the Panthers to consider: Go actually do something to grow the product" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/1).

INSIDE INFORMATION: In Miami, Barry Jackson cites sources as indicating that though the proposed sale of the Panthers to Sports Properties Acquisitions Corp. (SPAC) "could happen, the deal is on shaky ground." One problem is that most of SPAC's investors "must approve it, and some might prefer to get their money back (which happens if the sale is shot down)." Jackson also notes there is "talk of a potential bid from a local real estate developer" for the team (MIAMI HERALD, 7/1).

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