I decided to divide the midseason report card into a front office report card and an oncourt report card to make thingns more manageable. The oncourt report card will be a a player (and coach) by coach ranking, the Front Office one will be thematic. Letting the judging begin after the jump.
Community Relations B+ The Rainmen have done an excellent job of getting out into the community and doing a lot of work with minor league ball teams. No complaints here and I have talked to people who came just because the players went to their school. This sort of thing is a huge deal to kids, as are the autograph sessions after games. They definately feel like they’re members of the community.
Media Relations A No ABA team gets the sort of press coverage that the Rainmen get, and they are up near the top of anny minor league basketball team in this regard. They even get good coverage on away games. To be fair, part of this is the result of Halifax’s two papers assigning excellent writers to the team and providing lots of space for stories, columns and pictures of the team, but the Rainmen have done well. Every result and transaction gets a story in both papers, and most games get previews. They seem to give the papers excellent access to the team and Andre Livingston is a great spokesperson. Timely press releases are sent out and they’re well written. The two areas I’d like to see the improvement would be to try to get a bit more coverage for community events (i.e. school visits and the like) and for Andre Livingston to be much more high profile. I really feel like he is a strength of this team, both as a successful and community minded African Canadian/American in a city with a difficult history of race relations, and as a man who has a very strong presence that makes you believe that this team is run by a big shot. Hell, if Victor Syperek can pass as a big deal in this city, Andre Levingston could be huge.
Marketing C+ It’s gotten better but I think that they were slow to start. I don’t like the way in which they’ve relied on the same ad design all the time, nor do I like the way in which they’ve totally avoided a ground game when it comes to marketing. Let’s get the clothing in stores. Let’s get handbills out at high school games and bars. Let’s see some more inventive uses of the internet (i.e. webcasts and Youtube) The proof of marketing failure has been in the still too low (though good) crowds, particularly in light of the high quality game day production, the strong amount of earned media, and the good community connection.
Game Day Production A- My only two complaints are that sometimes the pre-game intro is just too long – there’s no need to introduce every guy on the bench and have the Weather girls gyrate for 17 minutes before tip off. Keep it punchy. I also think that the Weather girls need to be rethought: when they dance no one gets excited about it. It’s just sort of boring and at times a bit inappropriate for little kids. That and there is one girl who is conistantly 1-3 steps ahead of everyone else. Other than that I think that they handle things in a major league fashion. Everything is punctual, they have a good variety of events, they work sponsors into on court
Customer Service B+ When I bought my season tickets I was treated very well by the staff, and there have been no complaints that I’ve heard. Ticket Atlantic staff can sometimes be unhelpful, but that’s not the Rainmen’s fault since they can’t use anyone else at the MetroCentre.
Personel Management (Front Office/Production) A- I really think that they’ve put together a great team of people to make thingns work behind the scenes. Andrew Streeter, the Executive Assistant who makes everything work, is friendly and helpful and is always on top of things. The folks in chrge of the game day production staff had previously worked with MLE doing Leafs and Raptors games and the level of professionalism is just great and it shows on the court during time outs.
Personel Management (Players and Coaching Staff) D This would be an F if it weren’t for the way they take care of players and provide them with housing. The head coach is shakey (and that’s being kind), the team is guard heavy with a few too many offensive minded players who like to run the floor but still can’t penetrate, we have no legitimate defensive stopper and no consistant slasher – the short version is that the Rainmen didn’t put together a team, so much as they did a collection of pretty good players. The way they handled the cutting of Hardy Riley was bad for team chemistry and fan support, and the acquisition of LeBoise Gladden was a huge bust, and this emerging Devino Williams issue doesn’t help their grade. The one bright spot whenn it comes to signings was the last minute acquisition of the Rainmen’s best player – Jermaine Anderson.
Sponsorship Activation and Fulfillment B+ Physio Clinic and Pinky’s are definately getting their money’s worth as sponsors, but I feel like Steel Chrysler, Reebok, BMO and the printing company could get a bit exposure on game day. One thing that is definantely good from a sponsorship standpoint is the high production values on game day. If I was an exec who showed up in the luxury box/court side, I would be impressed with the overall product and I would feel like what was happening was a big deal and worth my money.
Front Office GPA: 3.1 (B)
An okay grade, for sure. The problem for the team is that it’s failures in marketing and inability to win games are keeping people from chcking out what is a fun, entertaining basketball game and entertainment event. I’ll try to get my on court grades together, as I think they’re a bit more ineresting.