Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wizards entire marketing plan seems geared towards families to me

A couple of days ago I posted a simple post that described my family and what we did to support the Wizards. I emphasized that we go to one or two games a year, ate inside the stadium, and never did anything before or after the game. We come home and put the kids to bed...

Sam Talarico questioned whether my family is typical of those people who attend Wizards games.

I am really not sure if we are typical or not; however, after reading various comments I have to say that my family seems to be fairly typical of those who attend games. Another thing that interested me was how many of the people who support moving the baseball stadium downtown do not currently go to Wizards games.

Since many of the supporters of moving the stadium do not attend games here is some information that you might be interested in.

1. The Wizards expend a lot of effort to both draw and entertain families and kids.
2. Costumed characters are present at every game.
3. Awards and prizes are often geared towards children.

The last time I checked these were not activities geared towards young professionals with a lot of disposable income; however, maybe I am too old to understand what young professionals want. Any young professional with a lot of disposable income that currently attend Wizards games PLEASE tell us how many games you go to and whether you enjoy activities geared towards children.

I went to my first Wizards game about five (or six) years ago. My mother had just been to a game and she made it a point to tell me how geared towards children the Wizards are. She told me about costumed characters that were for the kids, how in between the innings they launched prizes into the crowd, about Jake the Diamond Dog and the fireworks for the kids...

Face it, the Wizards marketing plan is designed to draw families to a baseball game.

I do not understand how anyone, except the blindest supporter of Harrison Square, can dispute that.

I am not saying that the only people who go to Wizards games are families with children; however, I do think that families are the main target of the Wizards marketing plan and I do feel that many of the people who attend games are families with kids.

I also maintain that a lot of the people who go to Wizards games eat inside the stadium.

Sam Talarico are you a Wizards fan? Do you go to Wizards games? Please describe the typical Wizards fan for us. Sam you should really send me a bottle of aspirin for obvious reasons.

Mike Sylvester

P.S. Sam please stop telling us that you have not made up your mind about this project. You made up your mind a long time ago. You are going to support this project no matter what and anyone that reads your comments know it. You defend Harrison Square against anything that you think could be construed as an objection to the project.


Jeff Pruitt said...


I suppose I could be categorized as a young professional. I can tell you that 90% of the time I only go to Wizards games on Monday nights because that is when they have $1 beers and dogs. It has been my experience that these games have the largest attendance...

Mike Kole said...

Mike, Jeff- What are the ticket prices like for the games?

My experience is that minor league sports teams too often over-price their tickets, keeping fans from the seats. Jeff's comment about $1 beer & dog nights is telling in that direction.

I've always thought that it was smarter for a team to have 10,000 fans in the seats at $5/ticket than to have 5,000 fans at $10/ticket. The ticket revenue is the same either way, but the concession revenues, parking revenues, and general buzz about the team are far greater.

I concede that this is a question of price elasticity, of whether or not lower ticket prices actually means more fans, but Jeff's comment at least suggests that lower prices could mean fuller stands.

For what it's worth, I think that when public money for sports arenas, the teams should be held to a performance standard with regards to filling that arena.

I don't know a thing about the Wizards' arrangement, but often the minor league teams in sports are subsidized by the big league team. In such an arrangement, the minor league team is strictly developmental and because the losses are mitigated by subsidy, management concentrates on development of players, and not marketing. I'd be curious to learn of the Wizards' situation in this area.

Anonymous said...


I love the way you attack me for defending the project at every turn, while you are objecting at every turn. I believe passionately in what I want this City to be and you believe passionately in the status quo that you want maintained.

As for my wizards experience.... I currently go to 3 or 4 games a year and our experience is not much different than YOURS because there are NO other options!

I will buy 5 season tickets to Harrison Square and we will attend much more regularly. We will go out to eat downtown and we will walk to the game, probably after it has started. Who knows what our experience will be because there will actually be something besides a parking lot next to the stadium.

That is the point Mike. Your experience is what it is now because there are NO OTHER OPTIONS!

Mike, believe me, I have no problem with you disagreeing with me vehemently and blasting me. My biggest concern will be the day I wake up regularly agreeing with you.


Anonymous said...


Additionally, I find it interesting that business leader after business leaders listen to Mayor Richard and Hardball and they walk away believing wholeheartedly in this project. The list of business leaders go on and on. Every day, I hear how yet another group has come out in support of the project after meeting with the Mayor and Hardball and getting a summary of the proposal.

So, apparently, none of these people "get it". None of them are able to grasp what you are able to grasp.


LP Mike Sylvester said...


At the beginning of this project I was a skeptic; however, I was not 100% against the project. Over time, as I have learned more, I am now certainly against Harrison Square. I am still waiting for the financing package to come out; however, I am relatively certain that the financing package will not change my mind.

If you think I am in favor of the status quo then are having a hard time understanding this blog. Lets see I am:

1. Against the smoking ban City Council (You) just passed.

2. Against using Eminent Domain to take one private business and give it to another.

3. In favor of eliminating many of the regulations that stifle business owners. For example I do not have a problem with grilling out of doors more then 10 days a month.

4. In favor of limiting development at the edges of Fort Wayne so that we "infill" and encourage development in the "core."

5. In favor of elininating the "temporary" Food and Beverage Tax that is being used for things it was not intended for.

6. Against issuing new liquor licenses that would devalue existing liquor licenses.

I could go on. That is one of your sillier comments Sam.

I talk to people everyday and everyday I talk to people on the north side of Fort Wayne. I ask them what they think about Harrison Square.

Lets see yesterday alone I talked to:

1. A retired couple that live about a half mile from me. Both were extremely against the idea of building a minor league baseball stadium Downtown.

2. A single mother in her thirties with two kids. She was on the fence. She has been reading about the project and thought both sides had some good points and was looking forward to hearing more.

3. A youngish couple that moving to Fort Wayne in May of 2006. They have no idea. They had no idea what Harrison Square was...

4. A Real Estate Agent who operates a business on the north side of time. He is passionately in favor of the condos and he thinks they will sell quickly. He is equally passionately against building another minor leage baseball stadium downtown.

5. A young man who works at SDI. He is passionately against the entire project. He thinks it is a waste of taxpayer money...

Sam, you say that more and more business leaders support the project and I find that fairly interesting. I do not dispute your statement because it seems to be true.

Yesterday I talked to a bar owner in Fort Wayne who operates his business Downtown and guess what, he is completely opposed to Harrison Square.

It does seem to me that quite a few large business owners do seem to support the project.

I tend to think that many small business owners oppose the project. That is just an opinion.

Sam I doubt that you will one day wake up and agree with me. You have strong and passionate beliefs and I do not think that you will ever change them no matter how many facts are presented to you.

The seem to believe that we need a larger government and more regulations. You seem to think government is the answer to our problems.

You are a "large governent" Republican...

I used to be a small government Republican; however, there are so many elected officials like you in the Republican Party that I found that The Republican Party left me...

Mike Sylvester

Anonymous said...

Its not yor job to defend the project at every turn.

Its your job to objectively determine if this is the best way to create jobs and create a more vibrant atmosphere downtown.

Your emotional ties to this project have clouded both your objectivity and your judgement.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I am emotional about the project because in my judgment (based on what I currently know) it is an incredible opportunity for this community. If we are waiting for the first RISK FREE opportunity for the community, then we might as well throw in the towell.

I will not apologize for having emotions about our city's future! If your looking for a politician that sits on the fence and waivers, then I am not your guy.


Kat Coble said...

Furthermore, why are these "business leaders" being given what sounds to me like a cronyist backroom-style presentation? We here on the ground keep hearing that we'll love the final proposal. Yet I suppose the taxpayers will be the last to actually find out what their money is being spent on, once all the empty promises are made to the various "business leaders."

Regardless of what these Very Important Men And Women think of the project, are there enough of THEM to create a high enough gate at the games to make the stadium pay off?

The issue has never been about how many Great Leaders Of Free Men love the idea of Harrison Square.

The issue will always be whether or not the hoi polloi will have enough interest to make it profitable.

Anonymous said...


Yes these backroom style meetings like the rotary club, the library public presentation, the IPFW presentation, the NE Neighborhood meeting; the presentation to the Economic Development Alliance??

My gosh, Kat at least know what you are talking about before you toss your negativitiy bombs from Nashville.

Sam T.

Anonymous said...


You got a little miffed when I opined that you are the only Council member that will definitely vote yes on this project regardless of the details. Your constant urging that we all defer to "business leaders" who must know "all the details" is the reason for my opinion. If unquestioning deference to business leaders is sufficient for your constituents, rather than transparent full disclosure of facts, why wouldn't it be sufficient for you?

If I am supposed to think this is all great because Bob Taylor and Scott Glaze think it is great, why would I expect you to exercise independent judgment rather than deference to their judgment?

In fairness, if the final proposal begins "First, we put two million in small, unmarked bills in a brown paper bag..." I fully expect you to be the first to say "Hold it guys, that doesn't sound right to me!"

Mark Garvin

Jeff Pruitt said...

Mike Kole,

The ticket prices are $7 if I remember correctly but if you bring a Meijer receipt you can get 2 for the price of 1.

Kat Coble said...

Yes these backroom style meetings like the rotary club, the library public presentation, the IPFW presentation, the NE Neighborhood meeting; the presentation to the Economic Development Alliance??

I do know that many of those meetings were stacked with Hardball supporters in order to give an appearance of a mandate.

My gosh, Kat at least know what you are talking about before you toss your negativitiy bombs from Nashville.

I love how you keep emphasising my residence in Nashville as though it makes me some outsider looking in and criticising your Grand Plan for the city.

What does my Nashville residency have to do with anything other than the fact that I know that Downtown baseball is a faddish city-planning farrago in places other than Fort Wayne, that team owners and financiers use the stadiums as a form of municipal blackmail and the funding never materialises as initially proposed.

I may currently live in Nashville, but I'm far from a Fort Wayne outsider. I don't think I need to give a stirring CV about my Fort Wayne Creds in order to both love the city and hate to see it follow another white rabbit down yet another hole.

Anonymous said...

Most people who love a city don't move hundreds of miles away.


Kat Coble said...

They do if they marry a man who has a scholarship to a Grad school in that city.

Then they stay in that city if they get a great job in art publishing and invest a ton of money in a house.

bud said...

So, Ollie,

Our brain drain problem is about a "lack of love" not a lack of jobs? Good to know.

Memo to Hardball Capital: Stock up on "I [depiction of heart] Fort Wayne" adorned bobble head dolls. It will be a real "catalyst" for City growth.

If this project is such a great one, try countering the criticisms instead of attacking the critics, Oliver.

Anonymous said...


Didn't realize that you had tons of money invested in a new house, unlike those of us in Fort Wayne who live in shanties. That explains a lot. Glad you got your priorities straight.


Anonymous said...


Large government this, small government that. Put the politics to the side. I myself am a small government Republican who is a strong proponent of this issue. How is this possible you say? Because I, like many fellow Republicans, realize that the future of our city is more important than political ideology. Mike, I understand you have Libertarian views and I respect that and agree with many of them, but I am a "small govt" Republican in favor of the smoking ordiance, Harrison Square, and consolidation....BECAUSE IT'S WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR CITY.

"I do know that many of those meetings were stacked with Hardball supporters in order to give an appearance of a mandate.".....Are you implying that these meetings were somehow "fixed?" I helped organize one of these events and can guarantee you that all we did was send out press releases and information to the media, and there was an large amount of support at it. You can rally your side of the fence, just like supporters can.

Adam Welch

paul said...

Mike -

One bar business owner downtown opposing it? Whats the chance that he might oppose it because he's against competition? You didnt give the reasoning behind his opposition.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Paul said:

Byron will be iussuing some press releases in the near future and I think he can speak for himself.

My guess is that he thinks its a waste of taxpayer dollars...

Mike Sylvester

Anonymous said...

Mr Welch
By evidence of your own words you are NOT a small government republican. Just saying that you are doesn't make it so. You have to walk the talk son.

As a young man who has only seen the current incarnation of the Republican party it is not you who is to blame. Its all you have ever known in politics.

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