Saturday, August 14, 2010

Would you pay yourself $14 million in rent?

One prominent professional sports team is. Why it's doing it has left many scratching their head.

When I lived in southern California, the Dodgers were the model franchise in baseball and perhaps in all of professional sports. Granted, the local media played into the "Dodger Blue" phenomenon, but let's not forget that the franchise worked at developing and enhancing its media relationships.

During my tenure in Los Angeles, the team's media relations department never failed to come up with anything I needed, and, remember, I was a freelancer for almost my entire professional time in that city. I have no doubt that every other journalist was treated in the same way. (At least one franchise in that city could have learned a thing or two from the Dodgers' media relations staff.)

Once the O'Malley family sold the team, its stature within Major League Baseball and professional sports began to suffer. Gone are the days when the stadium was a delight to be in -- because of the absence of any almost all advertising and because it was treated like a palace.

Now, whenever I see a game from Dodger Stadium, I bemoan that it has been reduced to just another "let's make money from in-stadium advertising" facility. It disgusts me, even though I fully understand why so many teams resort to doing it.

The bottom line is that the Dodgers were once different and proud of it. Now, they are just another team. The aforementioned story provides 14-million examples.

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