Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mike Dundee Wants Marketing

Is this the Mike Dundee that has been dropping by?

The letter below is from a swaying fan, Mike Dundee, who has posted on this site with his thoughts and opinions about what has happened to the NBL over the past off season.

I love that Mr Dundee has taken time out to pen his thoughts.

I will be interested to see what other "fans" have to say about these thoughts!

"Can somebody tell me ONE TANGIBLE THING that this so-called "reform" has changed other than shortening the games?

To start off, here is a list of sports that are more popular among the viewing public / sports media than basketball:

Aussie Rules
Rugby Union
Rugby League

The average Australian sports fan has never even heard of Chris Anstey or even Andrew Bogut. The main thing this reform is sorely lacking is perspective. Basketball in Australia will never be more popular than those sports. Also, the NBL has completely ignored the diehard basketball fan. First of all, reducing the quarter length to ten minutes has made all records and statistics from the past entirely redundant, which is basically like taking a big, greasy dump on the proud annuls of NBL history. What will result from this will be a low-scoring, Euro-style slogout, when the NBL should be looking to the NBA for inspiration, not Europe. Our game has always been more like a poor-man's NBA than the European game: fast, free-flowing, high-scoring, isolation-based, and (sometimes) exciting.

The other thing we need to admit before we move forward, is that Australians have never been particularly successful at basketball on an international level. We're getting better, but still play without aggression, don't know how to play defense, and rely too much on outside shooting. This is not very exciting to watch, and doesn't win games.

We've had two players in history successfully crack the NBA, and both of those have been seven footers. More than anything, we need perspective and real, attainable goals if anything is actually going to be "reformed".

I liked Larry Sengstock as BA CEO when I first heard about it, but he just hasn't done anything yet to earn his bread. Sengstock has never played in Europe. He never played US college ball. He too lacks perspective.

The saddest thing about this reform is that nothing has actually changed yet, and I can't see anything changing any time soon.


It's still called the NBL. It's still going to have the same, trite courtside entertainment and music from the early 90s. The jerseys will still look cheap, tacky, and terrible; the sponsors will be second-rate. The powers-that-be will still spend ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on advertising (the season tips off next month. Has ANYONE seen a LICK of NBL-related advertising? I certainly haven't, and I'm on the LOOK OUT for it...)

(as a side note, any player that has had their contract void this offseason would have a very reasonable argument in a court of law that they are owed a payout from their club. The NBL argues that since the contracts were signed in the "Old NBL", they are no longer valid in the "New NBL". I would argue that there is no "Old NBL" or "New NBL", just an unchanged, existing NBL, rendering all previously signed contracts sound and unbreakable.)

But, most of all, no one will be watching.

Why would we? I'll check out the odd game here and there, and keep loose tabs on my team, but I'm an enormously devoted, basketball-crazy fanatic for Christ's sake! Shouldn't I be watching every game? If this is what I'm going to be doing, how will someone with only a vague, passing interest in basketball engage with the NBL? Why does the NBL continue to sit idly by and wait for fans to come to THEM?

All of this rubbish reform talk is completely moot. It's simple guys. Advertise. Advertise hard, use a world-class ad agency, and keep doing it. For the next five years. For the next twenty years. Just advertise. Please! I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall just thinking about it. You can't just expect to be successful by "hoping", without spending any money on advertising. A twelve year old could tell you that. This is so frustrating.

It's gonna get a lot worse before it gets better..."


Daniel said...

100% accurate. I am not Mick Dundee but I agreed with everything he said. Interseting point too about the legal ramifications, even more interesting if any ex-player does take the matter further. I'd never thought of that. But as I have said a millions times before, the reduction to 10min qtrs will be the death nail.

Dodge Taylor said...

I'm not Mick Dundee, in fact I'm not actually Australian ... but I'm going to have to disagree with a few points.

I think the average sports fan does know who Andrew Bogut is. I don't think this has anything to do with the NBL tho. I know what you're saying, the challenge of the league has always been to get their "stars" to be household names. And if we can't make NBL stars well-known, why not make Australian NBA players recognisable. This is something the league has always wanted but fallen short of over the last decade.

Secondly, I think its way too early to be calling the reform a bust. Do we have a league at all this season? Yes, that's a start! There was every chance we wouldn't.

Sorry the sponsors are "second-rate" ... but the league has to prove itself and any company putting its name and brand behind the NBL at this point is a god-send.

Reform takes time, there is no quick-fix for a league that is/was in the mess that the NBL has been in.

Advertising and promotion well may be the key down the track, but the league needs to get its house in order before they start spending the big $ on advertising. There is so much more that needs to be done before we start trying to buy back fans.

Anyway, that's a few thoughts. Glad Mick took the time to pen his, its good to see some passion about the game, even if it is in anger/frustration.

Dodge Taylor

Hoss said...

I wonder who Dodge Taylor works for! Mick is on the money, the future does look dire. They haven't rebranded well and nobody but the die-hards knows that the league exists. Can't make money with out spending it!

Gaff said...

I won't be watching the NBL this season. Not because of lack of marketing or to make a statement about the change of quarter lengths, but only because my beloved Brisbane Bullets aren't in the comp and I don't have a subscription to Foxtel.

I think it is a valid point about not enough marketing of our beloved game, but the NBL is struggling to keep teams in the league so it can't really justify spending up big on advertising.

There was practically no media coverage or advertising of the top end pre season comp. I did poll of my office work mates about if they were aware of the pre season comp. No one was and it sums up the general publics awareness and care factor of the NBL.

@Hoss - I don't think Dodge has an agenda with his post. He is just a basketball junkee who is passionate about the NBL. It's good too see him taking a positive outlook.

Anonymous said...

I agree with several of Mick's point but Dodge is the one who truly nailed it IMO. This year was just about trying to keep a league around. Sengstock has done a good job so far and shown some real balls regarding many of the self serving owners (especially Dragons). I'm as unsure as the rest of us how well the reform will be but the plan always was to just keep the NBL in business this year, and truly reform the season after and into the future.

Anonymous said...

How about another Calendar?
This time I'd like to see all the West Aussies (who could make up a decent NBL team on their own)strategically displaying their talents as Shane Heal did in the last one...many moons ago.
Anyone got one of those?
Calendar I mean.

ClintDogg said...

"there's no marketing, not enough sponsorship". THESE ARE THE WORDS THAT A FAN (some1 who has not worked for or been involved with an NBL Club at all) WOULD SAY.

Where do you expect to get the money from for all this advertising and marketing?. You cant get blood out of a stone. If there's NO MONEY, there's NO MONEY, accept it and move on.

This makes me laugh every time. And 4 the record I didn't bother to read all of Dundee's entire huge ass essay hes wrote, BORE-ING!.

Anonymous said...

i hope dundee smokes clint dogg with his massive knife!!

B-Rad said...

I think the NBL could do with some more advertising as well but as has been pointed out, it's hard without the money. Hopefully next season! But then again it's also up to the clubs to do their own advertising to draw the local crowds in. If the clubs can draw good crowds it goes a long way to having a major sponsor jump on board and give the NBL some money to advertise on a bigger scale and touch a wider audience base.

My biggest disappointment with the 'New NBL' is the reduction of quarters to 10 mins. Bring back 12 minute quarters and entertain us for longer!!

But having said that I'm just glad there is a basketball season and from the looks of it, it could be one of the closest yet. A close comp could be what the NBL needs to draw some people back. Fingers crossed.

Hoss said...

I agree it is the egg and the chicken dilemma but if they don't do something soon there won't be a league for the Kings and the Bullets to re-join.

Anonymous said...

What does this "Mick Dundee" bloke want the NBL officianados to advertise? The product he basically described as crap, un-exciting, European-style basketball? That's hardly going to win any fans.

They'd better fix the product first so they've got something worth advertising.

In the meantime they can save some $$$ so they've actually got something to pay the advertising agencies.

This bloke's passionate, give him that, but he hasn't thought things through properly.

Scott said...

I've been a member for 4 seasons. I have not reknewed my membership for the sole reason of the reduction of game time. Taking my wife and kids to the game, it is now too much money for NOT ENOUGH entertainment. It's sad and unfortunate but we're not the richest family going around. For our family entertainment, the cricket will probably get our money and visits to the cinema. It is quite dissapointing. I emailed the nbl about this but got no reply.

Anonymous said...

Scott, what team are you watching?

mookie said...

Does the NBL and BA need more marketing and exposure? Absolutely.

Do they currently have the money to do it? For the most part, no.

I have to agree with people such as Roger the Dodger (and I can add the fact that he has no hidden agenda), that this season was sadly all about keeping SOME FORM of league alive.

It's not the ideal situation, but it was necessary to keep players, officials etc in paid employment (amongst other reasons).

NOW, what can be done to give the NBL more exposure and marketing presence? This is where it comes back to everyone of US.

Spread the word in whatever way you can. People like JR are doing a great job of getting as much word out there as they can, for no financial return.

If you're passionate about the game, look to do the same.

Isaac runs a great site in as well. Direct your friends who are interested in basketball at all to these places and give them an additional place to get involved.

If you do Facebook/Twitter/MySpace/visit Forums/whatever, then get the word out that way.

Talk to your friends (in real life) about basketball and inform them about the season start dates. Get them along to a game with you.

Sitting on your hands but then complaining that nothing is done is not going to work. Unfortunately the NBL is in a situation where it can't help itself in a lot of ways, so those of us that are passionate about it have to nurture it back to health (with a small amount of effort) to see long term results and a strong league in the end.

Discussions such as this one are great for the growth of the league, but if they result in no action from any of us, then they are for nought.

-- mookie

Anonymous said...

JR are you Mike Dundee? Why do you need an alias? Have you lost your mind? Communicating your own thoughts via the second person.. gee you have stooped to a new low level

ClintDogg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ClintDogg said...

mookie -
"Does the NBL and BA need more marketing and exposure?", YOU CAN NOT DO THIS without MONEY, CASH!. Cant get that blood (money) out of the stone if theres NO BLOOD (money) there to begin with.

Anonymous (above Scott) -
"In the meantime they can save some $$$ so they've actually got something to pay the advertising agencies", THEY DONT HAVE ANY MONEY 2 BEGIn WITH TO PAY OR EVEN APPROACH advert agencies.

Isaac said...

Siding with Dodge on this. Thought Dundee's post was a bit of a rambling collection of loosely-related and common 'But it's still called the NBL!' gripes. And no mention of a key low-cost way to boost awareness - grassroots involvement in the community.

Yes, the NBL makes a mess of many things, leads many to tear out their hair, and could certainly pick better partners when it comes to some of their creative work but this odd salvaged season has reset player salaries to the point where it should help a few clubs get remotely financial and stable. That's one bonus this off-season.

The Fox deal is no worse. The website sucks but it runs and we had live stats for the pre-season comp and at least some sort of video highlights afterwards. Membership sales seem to be pretty decent for most teams.

I don't like 10 minute quarters either, but a shorter game may prove more attractive to TV. Really doubt it will be the death nail, seriously.

The league needs to spend less time worrying about what it can't control (which players have made the NBA) and work at what it can (affordable and practical options its club owners will buy into and pay for).

Build a more stable foundation now, add the remaining big-market teams, and make incremental improvements from there.

I'm not confident that they'll make all the right decisions (even most of them), but this is a better position than they were in a few months back.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but the 10min quarter is NOT a NBL decision, it's a FIBA decision.

I believe it didn't have to come in until next year but, as Isaac said, it fits better for a TV package... so the idea is to get a product together this season they can sell to free to air TV.

If that's the case, I'm happy to put up with it, especially considering every league in the world outside the NBA is going to be doing it.

Frank said...

Oh the repetition here is sleep inducing

mookie said...

Clint Dogg:

Next time you quote one of my comments, make sure you read past the first sentence.

It seems that most of us are on the same page here. Now back to what I said above -- get out there and do some promotion yourselves!

Frank said...

Mookie, take it easy on Clint Dogg, he's never had an original thought in his life.

ClintDogg said...

Dont write big HUGE ASS nerdy and geeky essays and I will read more.

DJ Rod:
Post under ya real name (and not Frank) dont be shy the Crocs wont sack you yet from your job until I be a full on Geek and write them a letter.

Isaac said...

Give the Dogg a day off - this is the first time he's actually posted something we might agree with!

mookie said...

"Give the Dogg a day off - this is the first time he's actually posted something we might agree with!"

-- Totally agree with you Isaac. I was shocked to see something constructive from ClintDogg and that I actually was on the same wavelength. That's why it disappointed me to see he couldn't even recognise that!