Dunk That Sh!t: Crescent City Champion

Evil Dead Dollar Bill

Evil Dead Dollar Bill
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Make It Rain (Hornets Report): 42, do you have any ideas who another potential sponsor could be?

42: This is a very timely question, given the recent success the Hornets have had with sponsors. The success is even more substantial given the state of the economy, the current climate in the NBA, and the focus on New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast in terms of support of this kind.

Since the Hornets arrived in New Orleans . . . twice . . . and even with the Jazz before them, the business community’s supports has been below what it should. There are many causes and effects of this, but getting the sponsors on board and providing them with value makes all of them things of the past.

Sponsors provide massive sums of money directly to teams in exchange for the opportunity to get the fans to throw their money at them instead of their competitors. When it works to a satisfactory degree, the relationship is stable or grows. So, despite the fact that the sponsors get more press lately than the 2,500+ full season tickets that have been added, we are truly the wind beneath the Hornets’ wings.

This money, all ultimately coming from the fans, is then used to improve the team, improve the business, and keep the ownership happy. Less frequently, it is use to attract an owner . . .

There are lots of ways to answer the question posed, and I’ll be addressing some of them. I expect the community to have answers, as well.

Disclaimer: I would not admit one way or another if I had inside information. There’s no fun in either. Frankly, I’d rather figure it out and learn a few things in the process. Truth be told, I’d rather learn something trying to figure it out even if I was wrong about the result. To just be told a fact that some know, others don’t, and know it for a bit before more people know . . . that’s never really appealed to me. Besides, the New Orleans Hornets are very gracious to me. I would not violate the guest-host relationship under any circumstances, and their grace puts them squarely under that umbrella. As I can just abstract away any reality I may be a part of, it’s quite easy to just follow pure reason from the facts I know and end up with a conclusion that agrees with truth or not. No problem.

So, this is just the mind of 42 at work. Any resemblance to actual person(s), living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

1) The most practical sponsor I could come up with in short order (this is Dunk That Sh!t . . . no time for that prepatory bounce) is Verizon. Verizon is a big company with some money to spend. They trail AT&T in the region largely due to BellSouth’s large presence here whose specter still looms large even after more than a decade and major acquisitions and rebrands. They would bring a clean, high tech edge to the team and area. Additionally, Verizon is involved with the Saints and Champions Square. I was told that AT&T being a sponsor of the team (they don’t appear on the sponsor page . . .) poses a likely clearable hurdle in `activating’ Champions Square for the Hornets. Teaming up with Verizon not only clears such obstacles in an instant, but it puts pressure on the Hornets, Saints, Verizon, and other parties to get the most out of the deal and Champions Square.

2) For all the reasons given for Verizon to become a sponser, AT&T should want to increase their affiliation with the team. They should want to block Verizon’s entry . . . put on your houndstooth hat and think like Paul “Bear” Bryant here.

Since they are already have some affiliation, becoming a Crescent City Champion will have less upfront additional costs for them. The net benefit to the Hornets would be the same in raw dollars for them or Verizon if the sponsorships are mutually exclusive, but the corrolated money could be vastly different or not.

One could argue that their popularity would mean they don’t need to advertise. I say they need to for all the reasons they advertise here now. Also, Entergy has little need to adverstise in New Olreans, where CLECO, etc. are no threat. McDonald’s advertises. The government advertises. Haliburton advertises . . . any of you have a need for oil field services . . . I thought not . . . There are many reasons to advertise generally or be affiliated with a sports team specifically, and only one of them is sales, and then only sometimes. Image is another major reason.

3) The Shaw Group is a major corporation in Louisiana, a Fortune 500 company, in fact. We often hear that Entergy is New Orleans’ only company with that distinction, drawing a false division somewhere around Gramercy. If Zapp’s can flow both ways on I-10, so can other business. The Shaw Group is a major engineering and constuction firm. In a down market for them, what better way to support the state and community while getting their name spread across the state, region, and country? This would also help bring Baton Rouge into the fold a little more. Let’s get a preseason game at the River Center or PMAC while we are at it.

4) POOLCORP is the biggest company in Louisiana you may have never heard of. They are based in Covington and distribute products worldwide. They could really use the name recognition and would help tie the team to the north shore.

5) Pan American Life is the major life insurance presence in Central American and South America. Headquarted 5 times farther from the team as Entergy . . . so 5 blocks . . . this company could use some more business in the U.S. Adding this sponsor would tie the team to overseas markets that are just a short flight away in a direct, if passive manner while stepping up the prestige of the team by bringing them into contact with high finance. Additionally, the being affiliated with a business that does the majority of it’s business overseason that also has fantastic market penetration would further the NBA’s globalization agenda.

Duh) Let’s get the state, the city, and the approprirate public and private agencies to pool their money and get a big sponsorship. The team could rotate the emphasis from tourism, to seafood, to state programs, to safety and health initiatives. Let’s treat this team as an asset. Handle it with tax breaks in the new lease, using them instead of revenue benchmarks, etc.

I considered others, but had good reasons to shut those down.

So, to actually answer the questions: I think AT&T would be the most like of the above to jump in, Verizon would provide the best integration with local resources, and the Shaw Group would be the biggest coup.


I’d love to see your ideas and comments on mine, here or at Hornets Report.

Also, trust me . . . the team is watching . . . your idea could be THE idea that tips the scales here . . . don’t hold back . . .

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12 responses to “Dunk That Sh!t: Crescent City Champion”

  1. Shaw has had a couple of rough quarters–and they basically sponsor everything in the Baton Rouge area. If the Hornets were to start playing preseason games in BR, or maybe even a regular season game, I think that would be a great way to get BR-centered sponsors like Shaw, Amedysis, etc.

    Verizon is an excellent idea. They really can’t lose because the company’s share of the market here is so small. I also like the idea of Pan Am, but they have been pulling out of the New Orleans market lately. It’s more likely that the team will focus on tourism-related industries (Hotels, Airlines, Gambling).

  2. Having previously worked for Pool Corp I asked the question of why we don’t sponsor the Hornets or Saints, I never did get an answer. Realistically, I’d be surprised to see them sponsor the Hornets. Pool sales are down significantly, you can see that in their quarterly earnings. I’d love for Shaw to sponsor them. I live in BR now, the metro area has 800,000 potential fans, why not try to tap into that. This division between BR and NOLA is only hurting the region, not just the team. I’d be awesome if they had a party bus for Friday games, where you can hop on the bus at the Mall of LA, let loose at the game, and then get drove back home.

    • I really like the party bus idea. Not sure how feasible it is, or how much it would get used, but it could be worth a look. Tying BR to New Orleans would be big for the Hornets.

  3. I’m jus glad everything is starting to look up for the hornets. it won’t be long now til a owner shows up. i jus hope its someone whos a billionaire, or close to it.

  4. Wonderful piece as always, 42. The sponsors I’d like to see wouldn’t cough up nearly as much cash as the ones you mentioned (a certain beignet restaurant, a certain comedy group) but that gives me an idea. No clue how feasible this is and if it would put the other sponsors in a weird place, but a contest to have a truly local small business get similar sponsor treatment would be a lot of fun. Maybe once per game, a business like Dirty Coast, The New Movement or Lost Love Lounge gets to hang with the big sharks and have their logo swim around the Arena electronic displays and make some sort of announcement. Possibly tie this into the I’m In campaign?*

    As far as companies that are relevant to the region that MIGHT have the capital, I like the thought of Abita Beer, Popeyes and Zatarains being major sponsors. In a fantasy world, Abita names a beer after the Hornets.*

    In a completely fantastical world, I’d like to see individual menu items as sponsors. The Port of Call Baked Potato 6th Man of the Game.

    *I want to help.**

  5. Italy beat Greece yesterday to win the three-game Acropolis Tournament, a run-up to Eurobasket which begins next Wednesday.

    Marco Belinelli averaged 18 pts per game and put up great long distance shooting numbers: 13 for 25 (52%) on threes, in about 25 minutes per game. He’s getting great looks because of excellent point guard play and unselfish team play.

    Eurobasket is online at ESPN3 and FIBAtv next week. Lots of excellent teams and great players involved.

    I’m slightly encouraged by the high level meeting scheduled between the NBA and the players’ union next week, though both sides say coverage will be limited.

  6. As opposed to the bad point guard play and selfish team mates during the NBA season? GTFOH.
    Marco is averaging more points because he is the 2nd or 3rd best player on his team, compared to the 5th or 6th best player on the Hornets, and the teams he playing against are filled with euro stars/borderline nba’ers, who, whilst extremely talented are not as good as the guys Marco usually struggles against.

    • “As opposed to the bad point guard play and selfish team mates during the NBA season? GTFOH.”

      @AllBall: James isn’t making a comparison between the Hornets and Marco’s italian team. Obviously players outside the NBA are an inferior lot individually, but 5 players playing as one can be successful regardless if those same players are mediocre. Team play is what defines european style and this tournament is basically going to find out which country has the best TEAM, not players (unless that country happens to be Spain). It’s no slight on the Hornets, it’s just a statement on Italy’s chances against other euro teams and Italy is definitely an underdog in this tournament.

      @James: I wonder if you’ve heard a little rumor GS is interested in Marco? 😉

  7. Ron Artest on Dancing with the Stars, Delonte West working at Home Depot, Kevin Love playing beach volleyball, Jay Z touring in Fall&Winter( I believe he comes to N.O. in Dec.) and MarK Cuban doing another reality show. The season starting on time sure does not look good.

    What do you think Joe? 42?

    • I think season tickets will yield a 10% Return on Invested Capital, if you take the gold plan. Good deal if you plan on being a season ticketholder for seasons to come (I do).

      Good eye.

      I may pull those observations into a news piece, complete with shoutout… Ok with you?

  8. I have seen an Emirates Airlines 767 twice out at MSY. Wouldnt be surprised to see them or Etihad get involved with the Dome/Arena – they are in global sports sponsor battle.

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