What we can learn from The Final Four.

The NCAA Championship could be one of the best designed competitions in the world.  March Madness, The Brackets, The Betting, The Sweet 16, The Final Four . . . The Champion.

Every step of the way gets you more and more ramped up.  And by the end of it, you’re rooting for one team or another, whether or not you liked them at the beginning of the tournament . . . and sometimes whether or not you like basketball!

All professional and competitive sports have a built in marketing machine in the crowning of a champion at the end of each season.  And because of that hierarchical competitive design, fans . . . and even more importantly . . . the press . . . gets in on the action.  (The golf writers are going crazy right now with the Tiger Vs. Rory debate).  By writing about the competition, it encourages the fans to pick a side.  And whenever a person makes a pick, they become committed to getting other people to make that same pick.

And that’s word of mouth marketing.

Broadway has a season as well . . . and while we don’t have the same players and teams every year . . . we certainly have a heated battle for the top prizes.  It usually comes down to two, maybe three, shows or actors/actresses for the money awards (Kinky Boots vs. Matilda, anyone?).  What if we could find ways to focus on those fights?  And create a drama offstage as well as on?

Because the more we draw attention to the battle, the more people will care about its outcome.


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  • I’d hate to see the drama blow up into something which could lose the integrity with which we try to keep it classy in the theater, but if it could stay in the realms of fun-for-the-viewer, (example: a youtube video of the casts of Once and Newsies battling it off in West Side Story dance-fight fashion) it could build anticipation leading into Tony week.

    ps – I for one would love to see a “Tony Week” full of events all over the place leading up to the awards ceremony.

  • Luke Haynes says:

    While I see your point about the financial advantages of such competition, I think one of the best parts of Broadway is the community spirit. I mean, I love seeing photos of people going to each others shows and hearing the kind things they always have to say about the other “teams” in interviews and such. Of course, while there are some match-ups I like seeing going head to head (like Matilda crushing Annie), I just feel like seeing Glinda trash-talking Roxie Hart would leave a bad taste in my mouth…you know?

  • Sarah L says:

    I don’t want to see the drama get built up around things like this. We are not an evenly matched “sport” here on Broadway. Yes, I have had numerous Kinky Vs Matilda discussions already this year but mostly in the context of how two great shows that are so different have to compete against each other and how unfair it is. They are apples and oranges. Both delicious, but very different flavors. There has to be a better way to generate talk and publicity in a fun discussion about all the wonderful variety on Broadway that is beyond compare. It is art, not sports. You could generate publicity in some fun way that simultaneously acknowledges the absurdity of it all. How about the cast of each currently running show having one collective vote each for best new musical and best new play and see how that plays out? Still comparing different fruit but in a fun spirit that could acknowledge the ridiculousness of some of it? But I don’t think encouraging further unfair comparisons for drama is a good way to go.

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