What Are We Selling? Mark Cuban’s Thoughts on Sports Marketing. 2


Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban knows a bit about sport and quite a lot about TV. A few weeks ago on his blog, Cuban talked about how sports might be affected by changes in TV. Given the America’s Cup focus on television, it’s worth publishing some of the comments here.

[cleeng_content id=”643719952″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]While sailing doesn’t have a business model that relies on ticket sales, Cuban argues that the experience, not the product is the most important part of sport. In other words, the number of hulls doesn’t matter. The strength of the wind doesn’t matter. The location doesn’t matter.

“We are in the business of selling fun and unique experiences.”

Think back to the first professional sporting event you ever went to. It was probably a parent taking you to the game. What do you remember ? Do you remember the score ? A home run ? A jump shot ? A pass play ? Or do you remember who you were with ? I remember being with my dad at a Pirates game. My dad and my uncle at a Steelers game. Think about your fondest memories at a sporting event. Again, what do you remember ? Hanging with your buddies ? A first date ? A last date ? How you felt after the team won or loss ? A business partner or customer ? Or the score ? I’m guessing its not the score.

We in the sports business don’t sell the game, we sell unique, emotional experiences.We are not in the business of selling basketball. We are in the business of selling fun and unique experiences. I say it to our people at the Mavs at all time, I want a Mavs game to be more like a great wedding than anything else.

You know the wedding I’m talking about. The one where everyone is up dancing, smiling , cheering, laughing. The one where Grandma Ethel has her annual vodka gimlet and is trying to do the Dougie. The one where although you have no earthly idea what the Dougie is, you can’t say no to your 12 year old niece. The one where the whole place does the Macarena while laughing so hard they are crying. The one where everyone sings out loud to every song and you hug the cousin you haven’t seen in 10 years and hope you don’t see for another 10. It doesn’t matter if half the room doesn’t believe the couple will still be married at the end of the year. It matters if everyone in the place is having a great time. It matters if its the type of wedding that everyone in the room wished or wishes their wedding was or will be like this one. It matters that you leave the reception and your hands hurt from clapping , your mouth hurts from smiling so much and your throat is sore because you were laughing , singing and hollering so much. That’s a great wedding.

I want it to be very participatory. I want it to be very social. I want it to be very inclusive. I want it to be memorable. I want it to be so much fun people talk about it to their friends and can’t wait to go back. I want every parent to get tears in their eyes when they see their kids jumping up and down when the score is 2 to 0. When they are chanting Lets Go Mavs . When they are dancing and trying to get on the big screen. I want the guy on the date knowing that the longest he will have to talk is during halftime and that after the game, and until the next one, he can talk about the game itself and not have all the pressure of trying to think of something to say while his date can be relieved that she can enjoy the game without him talking. Or vice versa of course. I want everyone coming to a Mavs game to be able to find their own personal attachment to that night. I know I can’t control what happens on the court every game, but I can do my very best to make sure that no matter what the score, we have done all we can to make the fan experience like a great wedding.

IMHO, that means eliminating all the “look down” moments in the game. Once you sit in your seat, the only time I want you to look down is to pick up the soda or beer you set down under your seat.

I want you always looking up. Looking at the game and the entertainment in the arena. You can’t cheer if you aren’t watching. It’s my job to give you something other than the game to look up at.

We are going to try everything and anything we can think of to make it fun and memorable. Just as a DJ responds to the energy and attitude at a Wedding in realtime and tries to choose the right song or activity to keep the fun and energy up, we try to do the same thing at a Mavs game. We recognize that what makes our games unique is that like a wedding, Grandma Ethel can be sitting next to a goth looking 16 year old she has never met before, and if both are watching when the Mavs hit a shot right as the 24 second buzzer sounds, they can high 5 each other like they are best friends. That if Grandma Ethel is chanting defense and being a key 6th man for her Mavs, the 16 year old will feel better about cupping his black nailed hands together to do the same. That if we put a fun video up on the big screen, they both might just sing along

The fan experience is about looking up, not looking down. If you let them look down, they might as well stay at home.

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  • Capt Marty

    Do we realy care about the TV coverage? I thought it was about racing the fastest boat. It will be on TV anyway and more recently the internet has been doing just fine.

  • David S.

    All the weeknight racing at all local venues need to lift the weight limits/number of crew. They should tell every sailing center and local newspaper that if a person shows up, they will sail.

    That will get heads up, and people involved. The details can be adjusted, but the participation will bring in new blood. The Am Cup competition will not attract non sailors, but seeing it might.

    I hope that San Fran wakes up to the economic impact and gets it together!