I haven't done one of these in a while, preferring to share my snark and insanity with you in threads, and recently, on the Twitterz (follow me, dammit! I have people skills!! I'M GOOD WITH PEOPLE!!!). So, I woke up this morning, went through the usual checking of various emails and tweets, and I saw something that really saddened me.
Our good friend and resident #Sixers whore, Adam Aron (@SixersCEOAdam), was giving away 38 pairs of free tickets over Twitter for tomorrow night's game. This made me sad for a couple of reasons:
First, it's sad that the CEO of a basketball team in a market this large has to take to the Twitterz to hawk tickets to a game.
Second, it's sad that the game isn't a sellout, even though the Sixers have proven that they can beat the Rose-less Bulls on any given evening.
Third, and probably worst, it's sad that I don't know if Aron understands how pathetic it is that he can't get people interested in a home playoff game, because his team is really sort of hopeless, in the grand scheme of things. I think there's a general feeling that even if they pull off the series upset over the Sans-Rose-a-Bulls, it's just another asterisk win in a season full of them, and whoever is next will take care of business (unless it somehow is the Hawks, who I think they can legitimately beat in a seven-game series. They also seem to match up pretty well with Indiana, for some reason).
He doesn't seem to understand this, that his team is average (at best), and people in this town aren't going to turn out to support an average NBA team, no matter how awesome the player intros are or how many rally towels he gives away. This is a place where pro basketball is firmly entrenched in fifth place, after football, hockey, baseball, and college basketball. The only way he will get people's attention long-term is to put a legitimately good product on the floor consistently, one that has a chance to realistically contend for a title year in and year out.
The only way this team is going to capture the hearts and minds of Philadelphia sports fans is to melt the roster down and rebuild it back up around a nucleus of young stars. That's going to take sucking for a few years, in order to gather in said young stars (I love Jrue and Turner, but they're still 2 and 2a options on that kind of team). No one understands bottom-line pressures and the need to bring the profits NOW better than I do. Several of my clients are executives who didn't do just that (although the majority are people who either want to strip-mine their assets at bargain-basement prices, or lend them turnaround money at exorbitant rates of interest). And really, you don't want to have to hire me as your attorney if you're a CEO. It means you failed and you need to raise money fast.
So I'm sympathetic to his desire to jack up the bottom line right now by implementing low-cost, low-impact revenue generators to put asses in the seats without having to spend anything much to do so. I just wonder if he understands that it's not going to work much. And that it's not working RIGHT NOW, since he's giving away free playoff tickets on Twitter and signing off with "plenty of tickets still available." This is a damn playoff game, after they just beat the highly-favored opponent on their home court by 17 points. It should be able to sell out. But it can't. Not even close.
That makes me sad. Thanks for listening.