Summer lovin’, had me a basketball blast.
I was in a sports bar the other day (yes, eating wings) and looked up at one of the 57 large screen TVs to notice a whole bunch of very tall men playing basketball on a very small court.
Couldn’t be a high school game. They were too good. College? Nope. They were playing only man-to-man. And then it hit me like a best shot from Pat Benatar . . . it was the NBA.
“But Ken,” you say, “it’s the summer, how could the NBA have a new game on TV? The season doesn’t start for months.”
The answer? It was the NBA’s Summer League.
Yep, since 2004, a few of the teams in the best basketball league in the land have competed in off-season games, mainly to try out new players, try out new plays, shake up rosters, and so on . . . all before the regular season begins and money is on the line.
These games are like the readings and workshops of the NBA.
And, interestingly enough, they’ve started to market them a little bit more with televised games, detailed stats, and more. That’s because the B-Ballers know that the super fans of the sport will take to this “peek behind the curtain” like a potato to a chip. Watching their teams and their sport develop will make them feel even more involved, and therefore more likely to support it in the future.
Maybe we could do the same with our actual readings and workshops? Sure, we toss out press releases about them, but what if there was a way to do more? Could we allow some of the public to attend? (I bet some people would even pay a few bucks.) Do we shoot some video to give people a glimpse at the process?
The Devil’s Advocate position is: Do you really want to risk exposing your show to fans before it’s ready? It’s a good point, but I actually believe there is less exposure than we think. So, a summer league rookie blows a dunk. We know it’s the summer league. We expect him to get better.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll root for him a little more along the way.
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