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SBD/August 29, 2012/FranchisesPrint All
The Orioles have “been on a roll the past few weeks,” but fans appear to be "holding out for a winning team before returning to Camden Yards,” according to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore SUN. Attendance was 10,995 for Monday night's game against the White Sox, who “happen to be leading the AL Central right now and very possibly could be a playoff opponent” for the Orioles. Schmuck: "It was the first day of school for a lot of kids in the area, and you can string together all sorts of reasons why the O's drew their second-smallest home crowd of the year, but still, not even 11,000 fans showed up for a very important game against a highly competitive team just days before the start of the September stretch?” The “excuse du jour when an announced 12,841 turned out Tuesday night was the ongoing preparations for this weekend's Grand Prix of Baltimore.” Low attendance is "just another symptom of a fan malaise that is going to take more than one exciting season to cure.” It could take “another year or more of winning baseball to put a big dent in the hard-earned cynicism of Birdland's silent majority.” Orioles CF Adam Jones said, "We've got to keep winning and keep winning for a long time and make them believe.” Schmuck writes if the Orioles “continue to win, they will most certainly come, but never in the numbers that passed through the turnstiles of the ballpark when it was still an architectural revelation in the late 1990s” (Baltimore SUN, 8/29). In Baltimore, Kevin Cowherd wrote of Monday’s attendance, “It was an astonishingly small crowd for a pennant contender.” Cowherd: “And the Orioles deserve better. Much better. … I keep waiting for the fans to come back in droves and embrace this team, but it hasn’t happened yet” (BALTIMORESUN.com, 8/28).
DOLLARS AND CENTS: FOXSPORTS.com’s Ken Rosenthal wrote that a footnote to the Orioles’ acquisition of P Joe Saunders from the D’Backs in exchange for P Matt Lindstrom and a player to be named was that the Orioles also received “cash considerations.” Rosenthal wrote, “It raised the question: Are the Orioles able to add payroll?” Orioles GM Dan Duquette said, “I was just trying to stay within our budget. Our budget is based on the revenue generated by the team.” Rosenthal wrote, “That revenue likely is disappointing, considering that the Orioles are drawing modestly despite being tied for the American League wild-card lead” (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/28).
EPL club Manchester City has “launched a website aimed at targeting young football fans as part of a new kids' membership scheme called City Kicks,” according to Daniel Farey-Jones of MARKETING magazine. Membership to the website costs around US$32.65 per year and includes “games, competitions, match action, news updates and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, facts and information.” Members of the site "earn City Stars, which open up the players' lockers to reveal bonus content and other rewards throughout the season." Across the site, "age-appropriate content is presented to the different age groups -- from colouring-in activity for the under-fives, to social media plug-ins for the over-13s.” There are “tips on how to become a better player,” showing members how to finish like F Sergio Agüero, tackle like CB Vincent Kompany or pass like MF David Silva (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 8/29).
Marketing agency Two by Four yesterday launched a new brand campaign for the Bears. Ads featuring Bears defensive players such as DE Julius Peppers and LB Brian Urlacher have titles including, “It’s Crueler by the Lake,” “Believe in Monsters” and “Right of No Passage." Meanwhile, QB Jay Cutler and WRs Earl Bennett, Brandon Marshall and Devin Hester are featured in ads under taglines such as “Unfair Catch” and “Here, It’s Never Too Cold to Get Burned." Two by Four created over 16 different outdoor spots that will appear on billboards, Metra rail stations and CTA buses and trains. A “Believe in Monsters” TV spot also was developed with Chicago production firms Cutters and Sol Design FX (Bears). REELCHICAGO.com’s Lewis Lazare noted the campaign uses “an underscoring of macho, pounding rock music,” and features a “fast-paced montage of various Bears team members in action on the field.” There is “no voiceover,” just the “action-filled visuals.” Two by Four ad campaigns in previous seasons for the Bears “have stressed the team’s close connection to the city and the devotion of Bears fans.” But this time around the emphasis "is more on the team’s commanding sense of power” (REELCHICAGO.com, 8/28).
The NBA Kings' team store website since June 15 "has been a black screen with a telephone number," according to Ben Sosenko of Sacramento's KOVR-CBS. Kings PR Dir Chris Clark said, "We had a company that was helping us with our website and these are lean times in the economy. They’re in business one day, the next day they’re gone.” He added, “In the e-commerce industry, it takes about four months to build a website from scratch, and the way the company went under it kind of left us in a lurch." Sosenko noted since June, fans "haven’t been able to see an online catalog of team merchandise and all orders have had to be made over the phone or in person at Power Balance Pavilion." Clark said that the new team store website "will be up and running in two weeks" (SACRAMENTO.CBSLOCAL.com, 8/27). The link for the Kings store on the team's homepage takes visitors to Store.NBA.com (THE DAILY). Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Ailene Voisin noted the Kings' season-ticket renewal rate is up 80% over last season and the team ranks "in the top five in the league in group sales." Kings fans "remain consistent and amazingly [resistant]: They hold their noses when it comes to the owners and six-plus years of subpar play, but they love their team" (SACBEE.com, 8/28).
In Chicago, Danny Ecker notes the White Sox will “offer discount tickets throughout the next three home stands” at U.S. Cellular Field. The move “comes as attendance continues to fall short of expectations for a red-hot team.” Thus far, “slashing ticket prices has been the only effective strategy, evidenced by the high attendance in a late July Twins series that featured ‘half-price Monday’ deals and other discounted tickets” (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 8/29).
TWIN BILLING: In Minneapolis, Jim Souhan notes while Twins interim GM Terry Ryan “stopped short of confirming that he will agree to owner Jim Pohlad's request that he trim the ‘interim’ tag from his title, he sounded determined to keep the job and turn the Twins into contenders.” Ryan also "insists that he, not the previous general manager, the manager or ownership, should take the blame” for the team’s 52-77 record. When asked if he feels a responsibility to get this organization back on its feet, Ryan said, "Absolutely. Totally. This is a team I believe in, and I'm at the helm” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/29).
WE'RE INDY MONEY: In Indianapolis, Mike Chappell reports there are “about 1,000 tickets left” for the Colts’ regular-season home opener Sept. 16 against the Vikings. Colts COO Pete Ward yesterday said, “We’re optimistic they’ll be sold.” The Colts have “sold out 113 of their past 114 regular-season and playoff games, including 79 in a row” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/29).
IN THE KNICK OF TIME: ESPN N.Y.’s Ian Begley reported the Knicks’ uniforms have “been tweaked,” and the new look will be unveiled at an event next Thursday. The changes include the “removal of black anywhere on the jersey; the removal of piping on the side of the jersey and shorts; the circle logo on the back being replaced by a traditional basketball logo; the addition of silver/gray piping on top of the jersey.” The Knicks "have not announced any specific changes to the new uniform” (ESPNNY.com, 8/28).