SBD/April 23, 2014/Franchises

Trail Blazers' McGowan Continues Working Toward Making Club Profitable By '16

Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan's organizational overhaul has made the fan base "more energized than it has been in years," but the "transformation on the business side ... remains a work in progress," according to Ben Golliver in a special to the PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL. McGowan remains "laser focused" on making the club profitable by July '16. He said team Owner Paul Allen "hired a CEO to run the place like a business. He's definitely interested in (profitability) and in making sure our players have the necessary resources." McGowan told employees the "primary focus would return to selling tickets and sponsorship deals" and he "emphasized analytics and digital improvements." McGowan "wanted to be able to tell a sponsor how much a deal was paying off in Google searches, Facebook 'likes' and leads generated." McGowan: "In the past, maybe our pitch was, 'We're the Blazers and we're kind of a big deal in this town.' Now we ask our sponsors what they want to accomplish and we tell them we're going to go down swinging trying to make it happen." Blazers VP/Marketing & Digital Dewayne Hankins said, "(Our online marketing) was very traditional, very old school when I arrived. ... Now, we have 30 or 40 options for a sponsor." Golliver writes the "hope is that the refurbished Moda Center will be the centerpiece of a more vibrant Rose Quarter." McGowan also has "already begun strategizing" for the team's next local TV deal, which comes up in three years. He said that it "must include better distribution." McGowan hopes a new deal will be "worth significantly more" than the current $120M deal. Ticket prices will rise for the second straight season as the season-ticket base has "grown from 9,600 to 11,200," making progress toward McGowan's "goal of 15,000" (PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/18 issue).
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