Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A quick lesson in marketing from El Duké

Alright, fuck this. I'm not letting this happen again. One of the biggest issues I had with the EliteXC fights a couple of months ago (besides the fact that I was in the minority that paid) was that whoever was in charge of advertising did a piss poor job. I'm no ad expert. Shit, I don't even watch Mad Men. But even I know that if you wait until the last possible second to advertise an event, nobody's going to show up. Then you're going to have to give away more than 50% of the tickets, and nobody will buy tickets next time around because they'll just wait for the week-of freakout where seemingly every radio station is giving away tickets. We all watched it happen with EliteXC and sadly it looks like it's happening again.

In less than a month the Kings are playing the Clippers in a preseason game at the Spanos Center. First time they've done so since the 80s (or early 90s if you want to count scrimmages with the Warriors). You probably wouldn't know about it unless you happened to catch the initial announcement a month ago. And that's really fucking depressing.

Most people who know me know that I'm a huge Kings fan. So when some of my not-so-tech savvy friends (i.e. friends over the age of 40) ask me about the game, I'm usually one of the only resources the have.

"When's the game?"
"Wed. October 15th"
"Who are they playing?"
"The Clippers."
"How much is it?"
"Tickets are between $10 and $250."

I've had that conversation roughly 800 times in the past week. Which shows me three things. A. I have too many friends over the age of 40. B. People are genuinely interested in the game. (Which is encouraging) and C. Whoever's in charge of advertising is doing a horrible job.

We're less than a month away from this game and people don't even know when the fuck it is. Like I said earlier, I'm not an ad guy, but even I know to properly advertise an event. You have to pound it into our skulls for about a month using every medium available so the ticket buying public (including the people who still haven't figured out how to send e-mail) actually knows when the game is and can budget for tickets accordingly. This is where EliteXC failed horribly. During the week preceeding the EliteXC fights, people would ask me what I was doing for the weekend and my response was universal. "I'm going to the fights." Sadly, the response to that was also universal. "What fights?"

When Stockton gets events like these they should be treated like the big fucking deal that they are. (Insert ironic "Event City" joke here) If you treat the events that actually choose to come to Stockton like they're just any old event, then they're going to be perceived as such. Now, I know we're all a little cautious to get excited about an event after the debacle that was the Stockton Rodeo. But this isn't some douchebag with a cowboy hat and a bag full of dreams, this is the fucking Maloof brothers we're talking about. If they're going to fuck us over, they'll probably do it with actual hookers.

Now of course this wouldn't be a proper post if I didn't blame somebody for whatever egregious error in judgement we're posting about. Unfortunatly with this situation, it's a complicated answer. It's pretty much everybody's fault.

It's IFG's fault because they've turned the Arena into such a money pit that the Kings were afraid that they wouldn't sell enough tickets to make the event seem respectable. Feel free to read that again. Let it sink in. A professional sports franchise wants so little to do with our Arena that they preferred to have a preseason game at a venue a quarter of the size of their normal venue as opposed to half. If you want any proof as to how shitty of a job IFG has done promoting the city and the arena, this is as good as an example as any I've heard.

It's also (obviously) The Record's fault. They're too busy telling us to go to their Literacy Fair, or assailing our eyeballs with Lori Gilbert's bullshit, or breaking the shocking news that Al Davis is fucking Looney Tunes, when they should really be beating it into our brains that we have an opportunity to show that can support and want decent sized events. I understand that they apparently have a sports staff of 3, but can't they at least fucking call Bobby Jackson and ask him about how it's going to feel playing in front of Kings fans again? I'm not even asking for hardball questions. I'm flat out begging for a puff piece on the Kings. Anything. ONE WEEK UNTIL TRAINING CAMP STARTS. Whoops, sorry. Got a little out of control there. But really guys, at least fake like you're making an effort.

It's also (sadly) the Kings' fault. As far as I can tell, they've also done jack shit to promote the event. Of course they could care less how they do here. They gave it a shot, if it doesn't work they'll just go back to having preseason games in Reno. But at the very least they could send Spencer Hawes down here to take hilariously awkward photos. (Yes, I'm almost certain that is the real Spencer Hawes' MySpace.)

And lastly, it's our fault. Yes, I mean you. I love being a cheap bastard as much as the next guy (and don't even get me started on Bris Isaak), but if you don't support at least some of the shit that comes our way nobody will come. We might have to pay money to see shitty acts like Brian Reegan or Gordon Lightfoot in order to get decent acts that don't cater exclusively to the Latino crowd. I know this may come as a shock, but steady ticket sales count. While I admire everyone's patience in waiting for radio freebies, those free tickets do jack shit for paid attendence figures. (You know, the important figures) (Note: I have no idea how this sentence got omitted from the original posting. Are we the only blog without fucking grammar Nazis ready to pounce at the misuse of a semi-colon?) Also, stop fucking attacking Morrissey when he graces us with his presence. That doesn't look good for other fucking awesome acts that otherwise wouldn't wipe their ass with our newspaper. (You think emo kids are bad? Imagine if we somehow booked Carlos Santana.)

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