Thursday, May 18, 2006

More on Fans

A couple of items following up on the "What will bring fans back?" conversation from yesterday.

1. The evidence is purely anecdotal, but if I had to bet, I'd wager we're already starting to see the beginning stages of the resurrection of the fan base. Since this blog started about a month ago, I've received e-mail from around 50 distinct people. (Thank you all, by the way. You've been both kind and interesting. A link to my e-mail is on the right of this page.) Of those people, I'd say 1/3 have introduced themselves as long-time fans who have stopped following the team for various reasons. The sample is small and proves nothing empirically, but this would seem to indicate that:

A. There's still a desire for Blazer talk out there. (People are reading and e-mailing.) And...

B. Some who have dropped by the wayside are slowly but surely starting to pick it up again.

If true, that's good news. I expect if we get the #1 or #2 pick in the draft, attention will increase further, no matter who we select with it. I hope the team is prepared to follow up on this, putting the most palatable product possible on the court. I also hope that to the extent people join in the online conversation, various venues are welcoming. Part of the reason it's difficult to be a Blazer fan nowadays is that there's nobody to talk to about it, and sometimes the online community is not very helpful with that...

2. I wanted to highlight a particular effort that I think is both marvelous in its own right and indicative of what Blazer fandom used to be and should still be about. I am getting most of this information second-hand, so please write and correct me if anything in it is wrong.

A reader who also frequents the O-Live Blazer forum called to my attention a fantastic site that a fan has created in honor of Martell Webster. The young man goes by the handle "Definition8" in honor of Martell (the "Definition"). The site is BE SURE not to skip the intro video! It's one of the most amazing fan-created tributes I've ever seen. The site is still evolving, but there's some nice content there, especially in the "fan art" section.

I guess it's not so much the site itself that floors me, but the fact that a young guy would care so much and put that kind of talent and effort into such a project. It shows you that there ARE still Blazer fans out there. And that's good to know, especially if you're one of the 1/3 who are honestly wondering if there's anything to believe in with this team anymore. Somebody thinks there is. And I agree.



Anonymous jorga said...

Dave - one thing I haven't seen mentioned is that back in the "good old days" of big fan support, it was either be at the game or listen to the Schonz on radio. (You had to either know someone who knew someone with season's tickets or suffer the top row of the Coliseum to be there in person.) The Blazer admin. was a long time allowing games to be on broadcast tv (seems like they were one of the last NBA teams to do so.) You could buy a season pkg. of pay-tv, but as a single mom it just wasn't possible for me. So even though some of us oldtimers are returning as fans we are returning as tv viewers, but not being counted at the turnstile which of course is the bottom line when it comes to "fan support." Those of us who are rabid about character may actually pay to go see a game when we are more likely to see hustle than be spit at...

7:25 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Yes, the ubiquity of TV coverage nowadays almost certainly contributes to the lowered gates, especially for bad teams. I think it makes it easier for season ticket holders to jump off the bandwagon. My assumption has always been that TV ad revenues make up for any lack of ticket selling in most cases. Bottom line: if you're a good team it doesn't matter. That's the solution.

This does point out something we were talking about a few posts ago, which is the importance of broadcasters.

Also, you're completely safe from flying expectoration with the current squad. Having been to a game or two myself and having watched 78 more on TV, I can tell you with confidence that there are even some guys you will love rooting for. And seeing them live still holds some of that magic. (If they would just turn down the timeout music a Expecting to see a win may be a little much, but I think most people will start to enjoy coming back to the games in the next couple of years.

Thanks for your insight!


5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Dave
I, too am a long time Blazer fan and still relish the "good ol' days" when the games were broadcast on stations all over Oregon. Living in southern Oregon, The Trailblazers were "my" team, the only major pro team between Seattle and SF. It seems today fan interest has condensed to the Portland-Metro area. I have often thought the Blazer organization could tap back into a huge potential fan base statewide with some creative publicity. This could again be "their" state if they would possess it. People in Coos Bay, Roseburg, Medford, Bend, Pendleton and Ontario are ripe for a team to get behind, but sometimes feel left out, almost banished outside the invisible political walls surrounding Portland. We would love to see the team come through our little towns so we could put some faces together with some names. I know the front office is preoccupied with bigger problems right now but it would be nice to see them make a move toward some old and new fans outside the city.

10:05 AM  

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