Think of the marketing potential: “You too can get stepped on by Tiny Gallon.” Who could turn that down?
According to John Lombardo of the Sports Business Journal, Milwaukee is one of two teams that have independently approached the NBA with the idea of putting fan names on the court. Members of the Bucks’ MVP Loyalty Program could soon see their names at the center circle of the BMO Harris Bradley Center if the team gets the permission they have sought from the league.
The teams, Cleveland and Milwaukee, intend the plan as another benefit tied to their year-round membership and fan-loyalty clubs. Details are still being finalized and must be approved by the league, but the program would allow for the names of the season-ticket holders who are part of the loyalty clubs to be placed on the apron that surrounds the playing floor — or possibly even on the playing floor itself.
One source said the Cavaliers are proposing to put the account holders’ names on the sideline aprons while the Bucks are considering putting the names near the half-court line on the playing floor. The locations are subject to change depending on league response to the proposal.
There are a lot of variables still in the works from the size of the name to the ticket holder groups to be included to the method of application. The report indicates that the lettering would be too small to see on television, but in an era of ever increasing pixelation, who’s to say that a close up shot wouldn’t show a familiar name or two in high definition?
I’m not sure if it’s heartening or disheartening to see the Bucks leading the parade here. On the one hand, the move smacks of an air of desperation to maintain old and recruit new customers as the emerging ticket resale market undercuts them. It certainly feels like a small-market tactic. But on the other hand, if the Bucks are having trouble maintaining a broad ticket base, and the resulting economic hit is hurting them, then it’s good to see them brainstorming for creative solutions. And names on the court is a well-designed incentive. There’s likely a financial benefit to being the first to do it too.
So pending league approval, it makes sense to sell away then, doesn’t it?