Mar 18, 2009

Sports Business Journal weighs in on game entertainment

Here's an article from the Sports Business Journal on the state of game entertainment. Some highlights:
  • "...the NBA ranks as the most aggressive league in sports when it comes to entertainment. The league and its teams can hardly utter a sentence without mentioning “best practices,” a system of shared video snippets highlighting effective promotions, skits and segments employed by various franchises."
  • "At [NBA] league headquarters, three account managers divide up the 30 teams and keep constant tabs on how well they entertain fans — and also collaborate on new ideas and initiatives. NBA teams have become particularly fond of taking more and more aspects of the nightly arena show in-house; that is, the teams are eager to stop paying outside agents and acts in favor of assembling their own drum lines, dance teams, dunk squads, deejays and so forth."

  • "In Seattle, the Sonics have urged players to chat with fans and sign autographs after pregame shoot-arounds, and gone beyond making those personal touches standard fare by also persuading players to toss T-shirts into the crowd. Ray Allen and other familiar faces from the team film clips for trivia segments, encourage fans to dance in the aisles with attendant videotaped demonstrations and provide mundane public-service announcements."

    "The Knicks have enjoyed similar success with their players. A segment called “Who Wins the Oscar” features three players acting out the same famous movie scene, with fans deciding which hoopster stands as most likely to chat with James Lipton about the art of thespianism ... Being in the cultural capital allows the Knicks an entertainment advantage: playing up the fandom of celebrities who are fans of the team. Sandler and LL Cool J, among others, have filmed spots used on the video board prompting fans to support the team."

  • "Martin McCreary, who handles game presentation for the Buffalo Sabres, says hockey fans tend to come to the sport by attending a game, not by watching on TV. That contradicts the path most NFL and NBA fans take — and creates different expectations. “NHL fans are a little more hard-core,” he said. “So they don’t want you to mess with it too much. It’s like surfing: You better know what wave you’re riding or you’re going to get hurt.”
  • "Those differences ring true with Peter Sorckoff, who, as senior director of game operations with the Atlanta Spirit sports group, handles arena entertainment for both the NBA Hawks and NHL Thrashers. In a nutshell, he says, the philosophy for the teams starts with the basic difference between the two sports: Hockey stands as more of a team game while basketball tends to be marketed as a game of individual talents."
Read the entire article...

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