Nancy Sheppard, the PR director for the Rainmen has put together a media relations strategy that is mindblowing for this stage in the (pre)season. Since November 25 they have had 23 stories go to print in the Herald or the Metro and every single day of training camp has recieved at least one story in the Herald or Metro and most days have at least one article in each. Every roster move has generated coverage, even if it’s no shows or local guys getting cut and the team has gotten more coverage in a few weeks than many minor league franchises generate in a whole season.
One of the things about Halifax is that, even more than other cities, hype builds more hype. You need to convince people that your event is a big deal, once you convince people its a big deal you have a chance to actually make it a big deal. If fans think it’s bush league then they simply won’t show up. But a full week of dominating the sports sections of both dailies the Rainmen are making sure casual fans know the team is still around and ready to play better than last year. They’re getting players, both old and new, introduced to fans, and they’re giving people a sense that the team is important – at least important enough to get constant media coverage.
While casual fans who are getting their first introduction to the team are well served, I think those of us who are (perhaps overly) obsessed fans are getting even better coverage. The Metro has started updating online some stories, including Rainmen stories, as soon as they can get a draft written which means factual news is available within an hour of the Rainmen announcing it. Chad Lucas’ blog provides a good mixture of factual detail, context and opinion as well as previews of stories being published the next day and additional info that doesn’t find its way into the print edition of the Herald. I usually manage to serve as a clearing house for other coverage as well as providing some rumours, analysis, a lot more opinion than the other two, and a place for fans to discuss the developments. In addition, fans looking for info about the whole league can easily find a complete list of which players have been signed around the league and updates on preseason games on the OSC PBL board. If you’re a fan of the Rainmen and looking to keep up to date on the team and the league there is no shortage of information out there.
Let’s just hope that all this coverage translates into plenty of people in the stands.