Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Diary Of A Mad Grizz Fan Part Four.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

I pick back up with you, at The Grove Grill.

The young gentleman, close to my age and I were talking about the Grizzlies. Yes, that guy. The ONE I have found so far who could hopefully be coaxed into the Grizz fold.

I asked this guy why exactly he was having to be coaxed...Why cant you just get a 5 dollar seat and see what happens. If you want a better view to enhance your time spent, then take the plunge, spend a bit more, yell until your hearts content (just don't do the Soulja Boy dance) and see what happens then.

**Due to the fact that upon hearing the length of his answer, I immediately said I would like to quote him verbatim. I needed his number since I was sans tape recorder, so now that I am over the shock and disgust of actually recieving a man's number at a bar, I will relay his answer to you via a telephone call.**

"See Zac, the reason is simple. I've never been introduced to them. You might think that its stupid, or ******* lame, but I can't get behind something I know nothing about other than tickets are on sale now. Who are these guys? I know who Mayo is because I love college hoops, and I hear Rudy is pretty good. Why should I care? Before I take the plunge, I need to know whats going to be there before I go plunging off, ya know?

Another thing, since Im just getting **** off my chest to ya, is I like what youre trying to do with these blogs. It's like some public awareness type of **** and I can dig it. But Im sure a lot of people feel this way. They have no connection because yeah, maybe they havent tried, but some of these people who are fans of basketball didnt ask the team to come here. They were fine without one. We kind of fans like that dont have to do anything. The team has to make us feel like they want to be here and have us be a part of it, because people like that are indifferent one way or another. I guess apathetic would be a good word.

Let me see some marketing. Let me see them try. Then I'll try. Then I'll market the team by being a fan, and buying up tickets and shirts and all types of ****."

I know this entry is a bit shorter than the rest, but I want his answer to be the last thing that you really read and remember out of this. I'd like to know what the readers think, of this whole blog or if you just catch this series. Im hoping for a flood of comments, perhaps even a friendly-spirited debate between the fans that read this. What can we do to win these people over? What is right or wrong with his statements? I spoke about the listless marketing that I believe this team and city as a whole has in another blog but I think he raises some new and good discussion points. Dig in, Grizz fans.

In the coming weeks, there will be new (thanks to demand) installments of Diary of A Mad Grizz Fan. Bartlett, Raleigh, Collierville, Southaven and South Memphis are up next. Who knows...maybe I will be talking to you. As for Oxford, L.E.S., hey...I say let's do it. Why not.

Until then, spread the word and fill the Forum.


Random Thoughts of a Traveling Man said...

I can agree with the fact that there's a lack of effective marketing for the Grizzlies. I'm probably not the best judge, considering I moved about a year ago and when I lived in Memphis I traveled for work a good bit. However, the Grizzlies marketing seemed to consist mostly of billboards around town. Any television ads I saw were on FSN - and most of these were centered around the Grizzlies games themselves. Not exactly out looking for new fans if you ask me.

I consider myself pretty uninformed as far as marketing goes, so I could have missed a great deal of ads and marketing that may have reached the rest of Memphis. Consider this, though - we've seen the past two years average 12,770 ('07-'08 and 14,654 ('06-'07). You can't tell me more effective marketing is going to put 4,000 or so more fans in the seats (to bring us towards the middle of the pack).

Anonymous said...

I was very excited about the team when they came to Memphis, so I feel like I didn't need an introduction. But I feel like this guy may have a point.

Have a big (free) event at the forum. Have some players available to meet every day fans. A few doing autographs, perhaps, but that is not a good way to actually get to meet the guys. Then, at some point, clear everyone off the floor and have a scrimmage or something. And ADVERTISE it. Radio commercials, tv commercials. See if you could make it seem like enough of a news-worthy event to get the local nightly news to talk about it. This seems like a good introduction.

David said...

This may seem a bit cheesy, but a lot of basketball fans, and sports fans in general, follow the tigers. That may be because they've been here forever, or they're successful, or any number of reasons. But I think the Griz, rather than trying to exist separate from the Tigers, should embrace their amateur brethren. Maybe have a big scrimmage between the Tigers and Griz. Nothing serious, perhaps something that looks alot like the 'Midnight Madness' even the Tigers had. An easy, largely defense-free scrimmage between the two teams. Rather than sell the Grizzlies NBA franchise in Memphis, thy should try sell Basketball in Memphis. This would bring in a lot of fans. Obviously this is an ideal pre-season event, and it is too late to organize it for this season, but this seems like it could work.

Maybe throw in a slam dunk contest or something similar. Basically play off the tigers 'Midnight Madness' idea, but combine both teams in the event. Still as a separate thing from Midnight Madness, obviously, but kind of based on the same principles. Hype basketball in Memphis.

Chip Crain said...

People say they don't know the Grizzlies but know the Tigers. So tell me how much marketing the Tigers do promoting their players?

It seems to me that people are using the lack of ads as an excuse for not taking the same amount of time to learn about the Grizzlies as they do the Tigers. I don't blame them since the Tigers have been winning and the Grizzlies have not lately. The media coverage of the Grizzlies hasn't been bad but if you don't read the articles then you may not know who is on the team.

Zac said...

This is all great stuff, guys. Excellent points. I'd be willing to organize a readers get-together at a local restaurant or bar to discuss these issues, and have it posted on here for others to read the opinions of locals in a debate-esque format.

Keep them coming.

Lee Eric Smith said...

Marketing is indeed an overlooked part of the fan disconnect . . . but there are other factors at work.

Keep in mind that the team is only 7 years old in Memphis. That's still VERY young in sports franchise age, which is to say that we're not even close to having a grandmother, son and granddaughter all grow up watching this team, like say, the Lakers, Celtics, even the Atlanta Hawks.

Two, and I'm hopeful for this, is that we haven't had a SUPERSTAR yet, and the team's best player (Pau) was not a player that most folks in Memphis could relate to culturally.

Which is to say that in a majority African American city, I'm glad we have two or three young, high flying African American players with star potential -- OJ, Rudy and Conley. Somehow, I see more middle schoolers shouting "O.J. Mayo!" as they pull up for a jumper on the playground than I think shouted "Pau Gasol!" (Disclosure: I'm African American, and this is not the first time I've made this point.)

Third, even BEFORE America got jacked by Wall Street, Memphis was economically distressed. "Let's see, can of soup for my family? Or Grizzlies tickets? Hmmm . . ."

Finally, I think the team should just market its affordability right now. You CAN take your family to a game for less than a movie. SELL that. That's how you'll build fans for generations.

memgriz1 said...

wins=fans. i think it could be that simple. it hurts me to watch the griz lose so ugly sometimes but i'm dumb enough to keep going back for more. jk! i hope the team stays long enough to develop the talent we have because i think winning would go a long way toward filling seats.

Jon said...

You are doing a very good thing Zac with these columns.

I can't get my head around this issue. There is so many factors.

I think what you are doing by getting the Joe the Plumbers word from the street, is as reliable as any way to try and find out. The idea about a Tigers vs Grizz scrim sounded good. Something that generates buzz for basketball in general in Memphis. You'd be surprised how many in US follow college hoops and not the NBA. In order to be a Grizz fan, Memphians first have to be an NBA fan. If they are not, it doesn't matter how many games you win.

But there are so many factors and I got no clue. It's a massive issue to get your head around. Good luck with your future journeys.


Jason said...

The Griz had an open practice/midnight madness type event. With autographs and a scrimmage and all that. It was just at 10 in the morning on a Saturday...not very ideal. The block parties were great, but NO ONE KNEW they were happening. Most people don't check the Griz website every week to see whats happening. When the Tigers were in the NIT, no one cared. Now they are the hot ticket and everyone is a Tiger fan all of a sudden.

Once our talent develops, wins will add up. Winning will cure every single one of our problems. More marketing will not even put a nick in them.

Nice work Zac.