(Welcome Clark Matthews, NBA writer extraordinaire from Oklahoma’s best blog, The Lost Ogle. I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with this column already. We’re going to be doing a little post exchange between our sites. We get Clark’s outstanding NBA commentary. They get some off-hand, confused rant from me. It’s all going to work out beautifully. I think. Hope you like.)
When the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City, the organization blew their whole marketing budget re-branding the team with a new name, new logo, new mascot, new player posters for the Ford Center, et cetera, et cetera. You get the picture.
So, coupled with the fact that the team sold their entire allotment of season tickets in less time than it takes Patrick to down a Newcastle, it was unsurprising when the Thunder pinched a few pennies by not rolling out a big “Meet the Team” advertising campaign. Personally, I felt this was a mistake considering that the team was breaking into a new market without a good understanding of the NBA product or an ingrained love of the sport. Sure, plastering billboards and flooding the local stations with commercials was not going to sell one more ticket (unless the team convinced the Ford Center to allow them to seat fans on the catwalk), but while the National Basketball Association has been around for, what fifty years, the NBA in this market is a brand new product in many ways. Expecting a team that was purchased for $350MM to take root by word of mouth was a pretty risky proposition.
Luckily, the franchise seems to have realized their folly as ticket sales have naturally slipped as a result of the poor economy, poorer results on the floor last season, and the wearing off of novelty. They now know they need to connect with potential fans to convince them to support a team 41 nights a year.
Of course, the first attempt, Thunder Up!, certainly has some limitations. After the jump, I’ll break them down for you.