Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Nothing But The Nets (New Jersey Nets That Is)

Nets guard Vince Carter with the garment bag.

There is no team in professional sports that works harder to get season ticket holders than the New Jersey Nets. I’ve been to homes where they’ve catered a party for a high net worth season ticket holder to try to convince his friends to buy seats. And I’ve been to a playoff game where Nets general manager Ed Stefanski gave a speech to wavering season ticket holders at halftime to convince them to commit to another season.

So it didn’t surprise me when I heard of the Nets latest idea called “The More Than A Game” direct marketing initiative, which begins this week. The team is inviting 70 prospective premium season ticket buyers to come in and talk to their salespeople. But they’re not just making a phone call to say, “Come on in.” They’re sending blank Nets jerseys on a customized hanger in a Nets garment bag with a personal note from Nets CEO Brett Yormark. If the fan signs up for season tickets, that fan will get that jersey personalized and can have it autographed by a Nets star.

We’re Just Guessing
I’d argue that there’s no company in the last 10 years that benefit more from a Super Bowl commercial that The controversy surrounding the company’s advertising in 2005 clearly helped the domain site become what it is today. Despite the growth, the company’s founder and CEO Bob Parsons isn’t changing his marketing model of signing good looking women and creating controversy. After signing IRL driver Danica Patrick, the company added controversial Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson. Who’s next? We’re guessing it’s Amanda Beard given what Parsons posted on his blog last week.

“Next week at a formal news conference I will announce our newest celebrity Go Daddy Girl!…She rides a Ducati motorcycle and is a world class athlete. She’s definitely GoDaddyEsque (i.e. edgy, fun and slightly inappropriate) and has been on the cover of Playboy magazine. Finally, she’s an accomplished businesswoman who looks red hot when she’s wet.”

Sports Drink Update
While we wait for Gatorade to sign Tiger Woods, we learned last week that the brand signed Seattle SuperSonics rookie Kevin Durant. Durant told me that his deals with Nike , Gatorade and Upper Deck give him more responsibility. “Not only do I have to perform on the court, but I always have to be a good guy,” Durant said. He also said he was flattered by the jockeying for his services between Nike and Adidas. Durant eventually picked Nike in the largest shoe deal in NBA rookie history. “I’m happy I chose who I chose, but I could tell that both companies really had their heart in signing me.”

Meanwhile, Andy Roddick has signed a deal with Arizona Beverage Company to create Hypotonic Performance Sports Drink. It’s an energy drink targeted to the competitive athlete. Athlete branded sports drink never work, but it will be interesting to see what Arizona does with Roddick from a marketing perspective. I loved what Powerade did with Andy Roddick in the only commercial he did for the company.  Having the voice of Cliff Drysdale makes it look so real--more real than the commercials that Powerade did with Michael Vick and LeBron James.

Questions?  Comments?