Is this a Basketball Game or a Circus?

January 15th, 2008

“A brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.”

Take a lesson from Marty Neumeier’s The Brand Gap.

And the NBA brand, at least here in Philadelphia, is suffering. Sure a losing record has something to do with that. But there is an enormous disconnect between what the Sixers are peddling to their fans and what most human beings are expecting.

While attending a Sixers-Celtics game at the Wachovia Center a few weeks ago, I found myself sitting in the stands along with a few buddies thinking, “What the hell is going on here? Forgive me for being a frumpy old man….

Basketball, one of the purest, most team-oriented sports out there, has gone to hell in a handbasket at the professional level. Not on the court, but rather, in the arena. Blaring house music while the game is in progress. Excessive sponsorship. Every timeout, every break in the action, practically every jump shot is sponsored. Flashing ads. Rotating billboards. Media-overload!

Ultimately, the Sixers are creating a perfect example of how not to manage your product or brand. The Sixers only fill 63 percent of their stadium on nightly basis. Maybe would-be attending fans are turned off by the in-your-face circus that you have to endure? Maybe they’d simply rather watch the game from home? Whatever the reason, the Sixers seriously need to examine their product if they want to get people back in the seats buying those $6.50 beers. They need to listen to their customers… Get their finger on the pulses of their fans… Get back to the core of their roots. In essence, the need to find the simple, core reason for their existence.

Posted Under: Advertising, Branding
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