Friday, March 7, 2008

True Fans Only...

Did I read that right? Did the Grizzlies just mail me something with this message inside?


You've invested your loyalty.
It's our turn.

Being a fan isn't something you turn on and off.

Deep down, it's always there, win or lose. But that doesn't mean you can take a fan for granted. True loyalty like yours deserves true recognition. True thanks. True payback.

In 2008-09, the Grizzlies are stepping up to acknowledge and reward our most important asset as a team - you. Our faithful MVPs. Our true fans.

We're introducing a new, system-wide plan to repay your Grizz patronage and patriotism. From the concession stands to the seats, from the opening tip to the final horn and beyond, we're dialing-up the MVP experience to reflect our gratitude to true fans like you.

For 2008-09, all renewing MVPs will receive a True Fan/MVP Lanyard for each seat purchased. Your MVP Lanyard means you'll enjoy all-new perks, privileges and access few NBA fans have. It gives you exclusive entry to new places, events, and team content. Unprecedented savings and offers. Tokens of appreciation that transcend the usual door prizes. New in-game extras, involvement and much, much more.

In short, it's a new day for Grizz fans. Stay glued to your mailbox, voicemail and inbox for details and improved rewards, privileges and events for MVPs only. We think you'll like what we've done. After all, you've earned it.

I received this announcement in the mail yesterday from the Grizzlies. It came in a trifold placed inside a lanyard. It promises future news explaining what they are talking about.

On the Grizzlies message boards there has been a lot of discussion about what it means to be a true fan. Apparently the Grizzlies have decided to define that as season ticket holders who they want to have renew this summer (if not earlier). Sure you can be a 'true fan' if you don't have season tickets but buying season tickets makes you a true fan.

I don't know how well this is going to sit with non-season ticket holders. There are a lot of people who feel they are true fans who don't live in Memphis. There are people in Memphis who feel they are true fans who can't afford season tickets. There are a lot of people who live in Memphis, who can afford season tickets but don't have the right schedules or free time to attend a full season of basketball games. Are these people not true fans? Of course they are but some people are going to twist this to make it sound like they are somehow being insulted.

I realize that the Grizzlies are not wanting to exclude non-season ticket holders. They are not saying people who aren't buying season tickets aren't true fans. They are just saying those who do are 'true fans' but Memphis is kind of funny about how they react to apparent slights and I definitely think this will be viewed by some to be a slight on their support.

Revealing that the lease at FedEx Forum with the Grizzlies has 14 more years to run should show the community that the Grizzlies are committed not just to the immediate future but for a long time to remain in Memphis, but people still say they don't want to support the team because they are just going to move the franchise. Throw on top of that the potential to misrepresent this season ticket renewal campaign in a negative way and we could have a full scale mutiny away from the team by Memphians.

I hope this doesn't happen but fans here can be pretty fickle. People wanted Gasol traded but hate the trade that sent him out of town. People hated Fratello's slow ball despite the victories he provided but they hate Iavaroni's uptempo style even more.

I just hope the young guns make a good showing Saturday night against the Celtics. A big win in front of a packed house would do more to spur interest in the future than all the marketing efforts the Grizzlies could muster.

And remember people, calling season ticket holders 'true fans' doesn't mean that those who don't buy season tickets are not 'true fans' as well.

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