Billboards are nice but they aren't enough. Before I go on, I should say that this thread isn't for bashing the Pacers Marketing department. It's designed to suggest ways the Pacers can reach more of the casual sports fans in Indy.
We all love to complain about the lack of attendance and what we think the underlying issues are. Even many of the Pacers players, coaches, and broadcasters find ways to bring it up. Complaining about the problem doesn't fix anything. Complaining only helps if it gives birth to solutions.
We know what the issues are. Here are my ideas to improve the Indiana Public's awareness. I'd love to hear yours as well.
1. Increase merchandise retail availability. It's mind boggling that Pacers gear is non-existent in retail giants like Target and Walmart. Try finding a sweatshirt anywhere other than the Homecourt gift shop. It's harder than finding Carmen SanDiego! A t-shirt on a rack or in the window of a shop at the mall is advertisement. Tons of casual sports fans could be reached this way. Heck, someone might even buy one once they know that they exist!
2. Pacers players and the organization have been doing a great job getting the message out via social media and have made several appearances here and there. A better way of getting the attention of basketball fans would be to set up appearances at Butler, IU, and Purdue games. Get a few on air interviews set up where they can comment on the college team and how the Pacers are playing this year. Just sitting in the crowd could get the Pacers a few Twitter mentions or a shoutout during the telecast or on SportsCenter later that night.
3. New Uniforms. Changing the uniforms would go a long way to help people see that this is a new Pacers team. It would also distance this team from all the losing and frustrating years. This isn't something that they can do this season but it should be a definite change starting next season.
4. Get the local media to support the team. Give them tickets, t-shirts, polos, mugs, or whatever it takes to get them interested in the team. Don't just do it once. Do it at least once a month. Tell them to pass some of it on to their family and friends. What does 100 mugs cost? They're really cheap to produce but could be worth word-of-mouth and/or media gold when given to the right people.
5. Similar to the idea above but this centers around promoting the team to all the bars in the city. Not just downtown but in Muncie, Bloomington, Lafayette, and Fort Wayne. Posters with just the schedule on them are great for the teams and the bars. Have a few of the Pacers drop once in a to have their pictures taken with the owners and bartenders.
6. Get a grassroots movement started. I'm sure Area 53 and the G2 crew would be down to help pass out flyers about the Pacers latest deals for upcoming games at the malls. Viral videos like Hibbert's Gangnam-style video were great for recognition. I know that if they got the fans more involved in the marketing plan, the Pacers could see a surge in popularity.
That's all I have for now but I feel really confident that these ideas could work. What are yours?