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Thread: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

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    Default A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    In another thread, sweabs mentions how the owner of the Toronto Maple Leaves has built a profitable and well-loved tradition out of a team that is perpetually out of the top ranks.

    Here's that post. Here's an edited version:

    Quote Originally Posted by sweabs
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    The Toronto Maple Leafs have been one of the lousiest hockey teams in the NHL for some time now. The media (all throughout Canada) constantly jokes about their laughable rosters and performances, and continuously makes an effort to ridicule the fans who continue to follow this team with blind allegiance.

    The businessman in charge - Richard Peddie. Under his leadership, the team has continuously underachieved and become the laughing-stock for most Canadian hockey fans.

    Yet, the team produces one failed season after the next - and the fans come out in groves!!! It is absolutely impossible to get a ticket to a Maple Leafs game.

    From a cultural standpoint, the Leafs come to represent something that is so cherished by Torontonians (and in many other parts of Canada). And they are, after all, playing "Canada's game."
    Now, here's the question. Is there potential for the Indiana Pacers to develop a similar tradition on something other than NBA hype?

    The Leafs rely on the natural Canadian affinity for hockey. Is there still a Hoosier affinity for basketball? If yes, how can the Pacers use it?


    • What if the Pacers always wore throw-back short shorts?
    • What if they built an offense that relied on passing and open Js?
    • What if they used a tenacious press defense?
    • What if they perennially had the most balanced payroll in the NBA?
    • ...and one of the smallest payrolls, too?
    • What if they relied on rookie/young players more than other teams?
    • What if they left out the hip-hop culture?
    • What if they made it a point of honor to always have at least one Hoosier boy or Indiana college product on the roster?


    Would any of these things help to build a fan loyalty that could survive years of losing?

    If Toronto can do it, why can't Indianapolis?
    Last edited by Putnam; 03-16-2010 at 10:49 AM.
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  3. #2
    100 Miles from the B count55's Avatar
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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Toronto's metropolitan area has almost 4 times the population of Indianapolis.

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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by count55 View Post
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    Toronto's metropolitan area has almost 4 times the population of Indianapolis.

    So?




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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    I don't see that working. I know it wouldn't make me any more of a fan, it would make me maybe less of a fan because I would feel like they were just trying to fit to a certain image rather than worrying about winning games and eventually winning a championship.

    I think to keep fans and to get new fans they just have to make the right moves to become a winning team and always show that they're working towards that. All any fan wants is to see their team win a championship, even if that means having people on your team without squeaky clean images.

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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Players would hate the short shorts - I mean they really would

    If you ask O'Brien - he would say this current offense relies on passing and open Js.

    Press defense is a disaster in the NBA - they don't work. teams can break the press easily and score easily, and it wears out your players.

    Balanced payroll, means either you have no star players or you lose the star players as soon as their rookie contract is over. Either way in the NBA you need seasoned star players to win, so that would be a bad idea

    Rookie/young players lose games.

    Hiphop - no opinion on that

    Always having 1 hoosier is a mistake. Fans would complain even more if he isn't getting as a lot of playing time, plus why waste a roster spot by limiting your choices.

    I think each and everyopne of these (except the hiphop thing) would backfire and would keep us in the losing mode longer and not work in building fan loyalty

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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Putnam View Post
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    So?




    .

    You don't think if Indy had an extra 3-4 million ppl in the vicinity that attendance wouldn't go up? Of course it would. It's a fact of life, bigger cities have more ppl to sell tickets to. If you're selling a product, wouldn't you want to reach the largest audience? If you're not a contending team (which will automatically draw fans), you're burdened by this simple rule of economics.

    Look at the the NBA attendance for non contending teams. The bigger cities get the crowds everytime. Detroit, NY, GSW, Chicago, Toronto are all in the top half of attendance. NO, Indy, Sacto, Minny, Memphis, Charlotte, Milwaukee are near the bottom.

    NJ and LAC are exceptions b/c they have competing in town teams in NYK & LAL.

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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Count55, please excuse my brusque reply. When I say, "So?" I understand that, maybe, the answer to the question is "No" and Indiana cannot do what Toronto has done.

    But if that is so, size of city alone is not the reason. Attendance is not a fixed share of population, but a variable that depends on marketing and culture. Conseco Fieldhouse can only accommodate 1/10th of one percent of the people who live within an hour's drive. The reason attendance is poor is that people choose not to attend -- not that there aren't enough people.




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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    A few things here...

    Toronto, aside from being roughly the size fo Chicago, is the financial capital and HQ of many major corporations, so they have a continual stream of corporate ticket sales.

    Another factor is that Toronto is also the media capital of Canada, and therefore, the Leafs appear regularly on national broadcasts... Hockey Night in Canada is derisively viewed in Ottawa as "Hockey Night in Toronto"... their fan base has become nationalized as are the Cubs.

    Ironically, I was at a Leafs game in Toronto, against the Candiens, and there were visibly more Habs than Leafs fans (those wearing jersey's anyway) at that game... I'd say more 'hardcore' fans in Montreal.
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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    I think the Pacers are doing all they can as far as the marketing goes. Indianapolis is the perfect place for a basketball team.

    A problem is that they're nearly giving out free food and what not. They're spending more than they can afford because no one is paying for the food. Maybe once every few weeks, have some things like that, but not make it completely free. Maybe even a "BOGO".

    The Pacers as a team need to start winning some more and make the playoffs. It'll get people interested again and watch them play during the season and of course the playoffs. Just win and play the younger guys.

    I don't think we're in danger of losing the franchise in the city, it takes a lot for that to happen. The team will come around again and we'll probably get more sellouts and average a higher attendance.

  12. #10
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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    What if they built an offense that relied on passing and open Js?
    I think this is what Bird and Simon thought they were getting.... I think this might be what O'Brien told them he'd bring.... I think he's probably still telling them that. But pay no attention to what O'Brien says....

    I still remember Herb making a comment to the Conseco crowd talking about it good to see Indiana basketball back in the fieldhouse soon after O'Brien took over.

    I personally think it would pay dividends to focus on a team that could play defense and was fundamentally strong. I do think many fans and casual fans believe there is no light at the end of the tunnel if those things aren't in place first.

    I think tweaking the end of the bench and making trades for the sake of trades isn't a bad thing. You don't have to trade starters for starters... just shake up the end of the bench once in a while to keep things from getting stale. Don't force Diener to sit for 2-3 year for example. Use the D league some (to bring in players for the end of the bench for a shot or to send down... and I didn't mean Diener who wouldn't be eligible anyway).

    Turn the lights down in the seats and make the focus on the court while the ball is in play.

    Don't try and oversell the fanbase on any player. At best you inflate that player's market value and at worst you also inflate his ego.

    I could see the PR value in giving an Indiana guy a shot on the Pacers... OTOH... in many cases you'd need to balance that with worries about what trading/cutting that guy would do as well. ...Or even what little playing time would mean to some fans. Also, you don't want to overreach to achieve that goal (IOW don't draft an Indiana guy 20 spots too high or trade a proven starter for a bench player just because he's an Indiana guy). OTOH... We have Troy Murphy- he's an Indiana college guy!

    There's a lot the Pacers could and should be doing in a PR sense that they don't do IMHO. Whether it's simply better advertising or making for a better experience for the fanbase. Of course winning is the giant cure-all... and it's also a great way to hide several flaws that can bite you later...
    Last edited by Bball; 03-16-2010 at 01:22 PM. Reason: clarifying
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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Personally I think the list of ideas that you presented would do NOTHING to help the franchise. You want the team to basically be IU of the 50-80's. Problem is the people that were advocates of that style (play & personnel) are either dead or well on their way. You don't make your team more marketable in today's world by reverting back to the way Indiana was 30-40 years ago. The world and people have changed tremendously since then.
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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mosley
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    Personally I think the list of ideas that you presented would do NOTHING to help the franchise.
    You are probably right. But don't get caught up in critiquing my list only. Is there another set of initiative that COULD accomplish what we're talking about?

    So far, it sounds like people here are eager to stand in line with every other basketball fan in the US, demanding the same product for the same reasons.

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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Putnam View Post
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    • What if the Pacers always wore throw-back short shorts?
    • What if they built an offense that relied on passing and open Js?
    • What if they used a tenacious press defense?
    • What if they perennially had the most balanced payroll in the NBA?
    • ...and one of the smallest payrolls, too?
    • What if they relied on rookie/young players more than other teams?
    • What if they left out the hip-hop culture?
    • What if they made it a point of honor to always have at least one Hoosier boy or Indiana college product on the roster?


    Would any of these things help to build a fan loyalty that could survive years of losing?
    The only thing I can gleam from this list is, where is the "winning games" option? A Championship or two might make fans more comfortable with subsequent years of losing.

    Just about everything on that list either has nothing to do with being a good franchise, or counter to it.

    But hey, if you're happy so long as the plays are run straight out of Gene Hackman's playbook, there's none of that god awful hip-hop culture, the shorts are short (dear god why?) and there's a token Indiana homeboy or two on the roster, to each his own i guess.
    Last edited by Kstat; 03-16-2010 at 12:53 PM.

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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    But hey, if you're happy so long as the plays are run straight out of Gene Hackman's playbook, there's none of that god awful hip-hop culture, the shorts are short (dear god why?) and there's a token Indiana homeboy or two on the roster, to each his own i guess.
    Don't confuse that list as being what Putnam wants. It is essentially a list of all the things (well, except maybe the shorts) that have been discussed on here over the time since PD was started.

    To me, I think part of the problem is the way the NBA as a whole is marketed (and the way marketing is limited). I've said in the past that I think the local team concept is given short shrift in favor of the 4-5 superstar marketing. I also think a marketing ban outside of a specific radius is bogus.

    The problem also is the high expectations of basketball in Indiana, and the very real situation that if the NBA team doesn't meet those expectations there are various championship caliber teams at many other levels to spend your money on. I don't know how that works out in Hockey in Toronto.
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    100 Miles from the B count55's Avatar
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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Putnam View Post
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    Count55, please excuse my brusque reply. When I say, "So?" I understand that, maybe, the answer to the question is "No" and Indiana cannot do what Toronto has done.

    But if that is so, size of city alone is not the reason. Attendance is not a fixed share of population, but a variable that depends on marketing and culture. Conseco Fieldhouse can only accommodate 1/10th of one percent of the people who live within an hour's drive. The reason attendance is poor is that people choose not to attend -- not that there aren't enough people.




    .
    It seems much easier to draw people from a much deeper pool, and, though I have no empirical proof to support this supposition, Toronto appears to have a much larger pool of likely ticket buyers - more corporations and more people with that kind of disposal income. It is simply much easier to fill a house in Toronto than it is Indianapolis.

    But....

    Ultimately, the connection between Toronto and the Leafs is almost a century old. It is more closely comparable to the relationship between the Yankees and New York, the Red Sox and Boston, the Cubs and the Bears in Chicago.

    Their stature and connection within the community preexists their current management and current woes. They are an organization that has 11 Stanley Cups and two pre-Stanley NHL championships. It's true that they haven't won a Cup in over 40 years, and they are on a five-year playoff drought, but they've been to the conference finals this decade, and the current problems don't negate the lifetimes spent forming the connection.

    The NBA and the Pacers simply do not have that connection. Indiana prides itself on being the heart of basketball country, but that bond was never made through the NBA. It was made, first and foremost, through High School, and secondarily through college programs like Indiana and Purdue. This makes it almost impossible to attain the Cubs/Leafs lovable losers stature. People will simply go back to watching college and high school ball, or spend their money on the Colts.

    Even at the height of their success in the '90's, the Pacers still largely played second fiddle to IU and Purdue basketball. Though usually over 15k for attendance, the Pacers only had one "sold out" year in MSA. Only the inaugural season in Conseco was a sellout.

    In effect, there is no organic connection between the Pacers and Indiana's basketball roots, and cosmetic marketing efforts will ring hollow. Nobody's going to buy an "Indiana's game" approach if the product isn't good (meaning wins). In fact, it could end up backfiring. (Also, avoiding the "hip hop" culture is a singularly troubling approach.)

    The Pacers must win, and they must win consistently for a period of years and years to connect on the level that will keep the house full during lean years.

    Their run from the mid-90's to the mid-00's was a fantastic start to this, but much of the goodwill was squandered by the well documented embarrassments that the Pacers inflicted on themselves and the city. Had the team had a more normal decline, then I think we'd still have a larger core fanbase. However, what happened in a period of two or three years completely eclipsed the previous decade's work in the minds of many. Now that the team is losing, there's no reason for them come back.

    Basically, I think you're reading the Toronto thing backwards. People aren't coming to see a bad product, because the Leafs have successfully packaged themselves as a cultural institution. The Leafs established themselves as an actual cultural institution long ago, and therefore, the front office is allowed to get away with more screwups. They're living off goodwill established in the past.
    Last edited by count55; 03-16-2010 at 01:35 PM.

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    I'm on a MAC! graphic-er's Avatar
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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    How about this reasoning, disposable income. Canadians make good money, its a race to the bottom in this state.

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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    I don't know about you....but I do not want to see Murphy's blindingly white pale legs in short-shorts.

    There is something to also consider......the Maple-Leafs to the NHL is similiar to the Knicks of the NBA. Both are long-lived Franchises that have built a very large and loyal fanbase in Toronto where Hockey is to Canadians as Baseball is to Americans.
    Last edited by CableKC; 03-16-2010 at 01:39 PM.
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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC View Post
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    I don't know about you....but I do not want to see Murphy's blindingly white pale legs in short-shorts.

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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    I think watching "Winning Time" really put it in perspective for me. This team is full of great people. However, none of the players are winners. The Davis boys and Smits didn't allow anyone to score in the paint, they set screens, they protected their ball-handlers and shooters. Could you ever see Murphy doing that? Reggie willed this team to victories and genuinely hated his opponents. Does that remind you of Danny? Mark got everyone involved and kept the team motivated. Could you ever imagine TJ or Earl walking up to BRush and telling him what the New York media is saying about him, just to get him motivated?

    I think for a community to truly embrace a team, the team has to show that it wants to win. By not backing down, by hitting the big shot and staring down the opponent, by never allowing anyone to score in the paint, by showing every fan that you not only want to win, but will do anything in your power to win, that is how a city comes to love a team.

    Is it possible for Indiana to become the most loyal fans in the NBA? Absolutely. To a certain extent, they were still loyal even after the brawl. But it wasn't the fighting, or the stupid decisions that turned the fans away. It was the excuses. It was blaming the brawl for all their troubles, then not giving their entire heart to the game. That's what turned the fans away. Indiana fans want to be the most loyal basketball fans in the world, but the team has to show some desire before the fans do.

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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by graphic-er View Post
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    How about this reasoning, disposable income. Canadians make good money, its a race to the bottom in this state.

    Once again, the answer is "No."

    The problem is not that Hoosiers or Indy residents don't have money to spend for entertainment, but that they are spending it at casinos, buying iTunes cards, getting their dogs groomed, getting the game cartridges for the newest Gameboy or XBox or whatever, buying camping equipment, going to movies, buying DVDs, tipping strippers, and all kinds of stuff.

    Heck, it is only mid-March and my household of 5 has easily spent the equivalent of two Pacers season tickets on other forms of entertainment already.

    Spoiler Spoiler:




    I accept what Count55, UncleBuck, Mosely, Perdu, KStat are saying.

    There probably isn't any special course for the Pacers to succeed. The Hoosier love of basketball really is either gone for good or simply not pertinent to the Pacers.




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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    a
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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    The Pacers have to start winning. It's not about Hip-Hop, and short-shorts. It's about respectable players, IMO. Players who are loved and can easily be rooted for in this town.

    The Pacers have to start WINNING, next year, top draft pick, .500 record, make the playoffs, year after that, make the playoffs again, maybe have a big moment or two, year after that, maybe take the next step, get to the second round or third round, then begin to enter the "competing for a championship," talk.

    Also, a Knicks rivarly rebirth would help.

    Natson made a good point that I agree with and am basing this off of, look at the Colts, they had a top pick in Manning, got lucky, but as recent as the home opener of the 2003 season they still weren't selling out, and they had good teams that made the playoffs, the whole point is the Colts have consistently been winning and are usually championship contenders and are blessed to have some of the NFL's best players.

    If the Pacers can bring back the winning tradition, and have a few All-star caliber players, and at some point start contending for long post-season runs and championships, the fans will come back in hoards. But, a lot of pieces have to fall in place. That's just the view on the Indiana/Indianapolis casual market. Please don't bash me for bringing up the Colts...(Unlcebuck aka "Basketball Boy" )
    Last edited by Lord Helmet; 03-16-2010 at 05:39 PM.
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    Default Re: A new/old paradigm for the Pacers?

    I think the problem with our state overall and its comparative lack of "passion" and "pride" towards the Pacers is possibly even somewhat systemic in the population towards basketball in general.

    By that I mean that there is an overall diminished importance and value placed on basketball as part of the overall culture in our state.

    First, we are now almost a generation removed from a single high school basketball state champion and the memories of that, and the advent of class basketball has possibly diminished the mystique of Hoosier Hysteria. Also, a lot of the people who truly grew up with high school basketball being one of the main forms of evening entertainment during the winter months are now elderly, or have passed away.

    Second, at the college level, there has been an increasing focus over the years on either the best players getting to the NBA as early as possible, or those players that are likely to go to the NBA following the money and tending to go to schools that have large financial backers, or have a recent history of going deep into the NCAA tournament frequently and consistently and therefore getting those same players more exposure for the purposes of going pro. It has been a long time since any truly noteworthy players from a national perspective (Eric Gordon notwithstanding) have gone to college here in Indiana. This has also contributed to an overall decline in basketball interest due to a perception that colleges in Indiana are no longer as dominant overall on a national scale compared to the days that IU, Purdue, and Notre Dame were nearly always top 20 teams.

    Third, the competition from the Colts for casual fans is at its peak because they are successful, and public perception is that they are somehow better citizens than the Pacers, which right now is NOT the case, and has not been for at least a couple of years now.

    Also, there are many other opportunities for entertainment even in small communities throughout the state with more TV and internet entertainment options right in people's homes, far different from the days of channels 6, 8, and 13, with channel 4 as the home of both IU basketball and the Pacers.

    It will be truly difficult to regain what the Pacers have had in the past because of both the franchise realities financially, as well as being a small market, and I believe the factors above, along with others mentioned both in this thread and others.

    Winning will be the easiest way to solve as much of it as possible as soon as possible, but that won't be easy, even with big money available at the end of the three year plan.

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