NAS Interviews: Talking Sports Marketing with Darren Rovell

For an organization that’s expected to finish in the bottom portion of the Eastern Conference this season while not making a single roster move after trading away Vince Carter in June, the Nets sure found a way to make headlines during the offseason.

By developing a series of “outside the box” ticket selling promotion, the Nets have earned national media attention, even if it’s coming at the chagrin of the core members of the team’s fan base. Earlier this summer, the Nets introduced a reversible jersey promotion, where ticket buyers would get free jerseys featuring a Nets player on one  side, and a member of the opposing team on the other, and most recently, the Nets raised eyebrows again when they promised fans who bought courtside seats to 10 games (to the tune of $25,000) that they could “rent” a Net of their choosing for an hour.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for CNBC, said the Nets have done an excellent job attracting attention to the organization this summer. And some of their ideas, aren’t all that bad.

“They are really good at getting attention,” Rovell told NAS during a phone interview. “In terms of attendance and quality of teams, they probably get the most attention of anyone that low on the totem pole. They’re legitimately trying to sell tickets. And the jersey idea is actually brilliant.”

While it might upset some die-hard Nets fans who’ve said the team is putting ticket sales to the Izod Center above drawing actual Nets fans to the arena, it will still benefit the financial health of the organization if they’re able to sell off more tickets to games, Rovell said.

As for the courtside ticket promotion introduced earlier this week, the market in this case is clearly the corporate client, Rovell said.

“For a corporation that’s doable,” Rovell said of the hefty price tag for the promotion. “That’s who the Nets are targeting. They think a corporation will do this.”

The catch will be how much will players – and their agents – put up with regarding the promotion.

“The player’s don’t get a piece of it,” Rovell said, adding that Devin Harris is going to be a very busy member on the team’s promotional circuit if the Nets get a lot of takers for courtside tickets. “How many times is (Harris’) agent going to let this happen?”

As for the Nets being the first NBA team to sell naming rights to their practice facility and jerseys to PNY (the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic soon followed with sponsorship deals on their own practice facilities and jerseys), Rovell said the deal is par for the course for the organization.

“The Nets will sell anything, that’s the thing,” Rovell said. “And they’re good at doing it.”