SBD/April 23, 2012/Franchises

Pacers Launch Six-Figure Ad Campaign As NBA Playoffs Get Set To Begin

The Pacers this month "launched a six-figure advertising campaign -- their biggest by far this season -- featuring" President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird, coach Frank Vogel and a "host of players at an unusual time," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. This lockout-shortened season is "anything but normal, and Pacers officials say they simply didn’t have time in the preseason to initiate such a campaign." Pacers officials "didn’t start their marketing push in February because they didn’t want it to 'get lost' in the Super Bowl hubbub." Pacers Senior VP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Todd Taylor said, "A lot of teams wouldn’t launch a big ad campaign at the end of the season, but we see this as the beginning. ... We’re using this campaign to launch into the playoffs and as a springboard to next season, as well." Though Taylor "wouldn’t specify how much the Pacers were spending on the campaign, he said it was 'well north'" of $100,000. Two new TV ads came out last week featuring players, including Fs Danny Granger, Tyler Hansbrough, David West and G George Hill. Pacers officials will "unveil at least two new ads heading into the playoffs at the end of this month." The advertising "onslaught includes Internet, radio and print ads in addition" to 46 billboards and 20 downtown newspaper and magazine stands. While Bird is a "focal point in many of the ads, Pacers officials also hope the campaign educates locals about players -- including newer acquisitions" such as F Lou Amundson and G Leandro Barbosa. The Pacers are "coupling the ad campaign with special offers for playoff tickets" (, 4/20).

END OF AN ERA? SI's Phil Taylor notes for Bird, it "appears that the curtain might soon come down on Act III, in which he has been a quietly effective team president, rebuilding the Pacers into an upper-echelon team again, the likely third seed in the East in the upcoming playoffs." The rumor of his departure "may be premature," but it is "not hard to imagine him deciding to return to his home in Naples, Fla., for good." With each career move he "recedes further into the background, leaving center stage to others." Taylor: "We may not see another like him again. Has anyone pulled off Bird's trifecta -- star for a team, coach a team, build a team -- with so much success?" Bird had the "rare combination of playing ability, coaching patience and an eye for talent -- a basketball man in full." He "may have been most at home on the court, but he wasn't out of his depth on the bench or in the office" (SI, 4/23 issue).
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