Bimbo Banter

The ROI of an Extra Look

  • Leadership
  • September 12, 2014
  • by Merrie Spaeth

09 12 14 the roi of an extra look

Since the majority owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Bruce Levenson, surrendered his interest in the team because of an easily misinterpreted email from 2012, our clients have been asking, “Would you eyeball this email/memo/text/letter?”

In the email, Levenson was describing a marketing challenge in language that was too easily sensationalized. He brought the email to the attention of the governing body possibly because Donald Sterling’s attorney issued a veiled threat that other owners are guilty of making the same racially-charged comments.

In today’s age, anything you say or write is highly likely to be shared. It’s worth the short “Hey, can you look at this?” if you want to keep your team. (And it’s very cost effective. What an ROI!) Here’s how we would have rewritten the key paragraphs in Levenson’s email.

An excerpt from Levenson’s original email:

"4. Regarding game ops, i need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn’t much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can’t get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice the following:

– it’s 70 pct black
– the cheerleaders are black
– the music is hip hop
– at the bars it’s 90 pct black
– there are few fathers and sons at the games
– we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel."

Our suggested email language:

"Let’s ask if we’re serving what fans want to eat, what they want to hear at post-game concerts, what kind of merchandise they want to buy, what would encourage them to bring friends. Let’s try a pilot project and ask fans to participate in a focus group.  

I’d also like to reach out to some of the leaders in the African-American community. I think we have something special to offer their families at our games. We have a special role to play in Atlanta to create an inclusive, family-friendly atmosphere.”

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