SBJ/July 22-28, 2013/Franchises

For Cleveland, ‘creative flexibility’ for a five-mascot lineup

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Mascots for Dan Gilbert’s four teams report to Cavs marketing.
Photo by: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
When Tracy Marek, CMO and senior vice president of marketing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, calls a meeting, the list of attendees can sound like something out of a “B” mob movie.

There’s Moondog, Sully the Seagull, Sir C.C., Pozzie and Rudi. But in a strange reversal of roles, it’s usually the employees who end up telling the boss what, how, where and when they are going to do their jobs.

The cast of characters represents the mascots from the four professional teams owned by Dan Gilbert: the NBA Cavs, AHL Lake Erie Monsters, AFL Cleveland Gladiators and NBA D-League Canton Charge.

“We call it creative flexibility,” Marek said, referring to a philosophy of letting the people inside the mascot costumes create the characters the fans will see. “We believe that it is our job to help support the business of the mascots, not the other way around.”

Marek said the Monsters (with Sully) and the Cavs (Moondog and Sir C.C.) have full-time mascot “coordinators” for the characters; the Charge (Pozzie) and Gladiators (Rudi) feature seasonal employees. Each individual reports to Cavs marketing. For Marek and her staff, overseeing four mascot operations means there is at least one character event nearly every day of the year.

Other ownership groups that have four or more teams with at least as many individual mascots include:
Calgary Sports and Entertainment Group: NHL Calgary Flames (Harvey the Hound); CFL Calgary Stampeders (Ralph the Dog); WHL Calgary Hitmen (Farley the Fox); and NLL Calgary Roughnecks (Howie the Honey Badger)

Spurs Sports & Entertainment: NBA San Antonio Spurs (The Coyote); WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars (The Fox); AHL San Antonio Rampage (T-Bone); and NBA D-League Austin Toros (Da Bull)

Kroenke Sports and Entertainment: NBA Denver Nuggets (Rocky); NHL Colorado Avalanche (Bernie); NLL Colorado Mammoth (Wooly); and MLS Colorado Rapids (Edson the Eagle and Franz the Fox).

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