Here are two words that you never thought you’d hear together.

Sports

and

Theater.

Sports shows haven’t been that successful on the ol’ Bway (except for Good News and those Damn Yankees), especially when compared to other entertainment mediums.  The movies do sports oh so well, so we’ve stayed away.  (There was a rumor about a Rocky musical, but admit it, just the thought makes you smirk in a Lestat kind of way.)

But there’s a show on Broadway right now that’s getting some athletic attention:  Lombardi, which is sponsored by the mammoth machine known as the NFL.

One of my marketing mantras that was taught to me by a smart press rep I’ve worked with is . . . get off the theater pages.

Well, Lombardi managed to do just that recently, with an article in AdAge about the unique partnership between football (which probably has more people watching on a Sunday than going to church) and Broadway.

Since we talked about the challenges of Broadway and sponsorship, I thought you’d be interested in checking it out.

Read it here.

And just imagine what could happen to the Great White Way if this partnership works:

NASCAR presents Earnhardt: His final lap.

Major League Baseball presents:  For the love of Pete . . . Rose.

PGA presents Tiger:  He’s in the woods again.

What I did this weekend.

Here’s what I did:

I wasn’t at the beach.

I wasn’t at the park.

I was at work all weekend long.

No, no, no . . . don’t start playing a violin for me.  I’m not looking for you to throw me a pity party.

Because it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time.

I spent the weekend making calls to some of the hundreds of people that have responded to the PeopleOfGodspell post.

Look, I knew there were people out there that loved theater, but nothing prepared me for some of the conversations I had with the wide variety of people that expressed interest in the offer.

– I spoke to a man who met John-Michael Tebelak a few years before he died, and was so inspired by him and by Godspell that he had gone on to perform in and direct over 20 productions of the show.

– I spoke to a man who was an Arabic language expert in the Air Force and had a masters in theater.

– I spoke to a songwriting couple from Los Angeles who said Stephen Schwartz was their hero.

– I spoke to a Broadway wardrobe supervisor, a Broadway stage manager, another stage manager, a Broadway actor, and more . . . and we talked about how back in the old days, staff members of shows got involved in the business end more often because the economics were so different.

– I spoke to a patent attorney, a trademark attorney, a securities attorney, and a few other attorneys, many of whom called themselves “theater dorks.”

– I spoke to a woman whose dad passed away recently and is looking forward to getting back to seeing shows again soon.

– I spoke to a guy in my home state of Massachusetts who commiserated with me after the Patriots lost to the Jets in the NFL’s Week 2.

So many people from all over the country with one thing in common: a passion for the theater.

Can you think of a better way to spend a weekend?

If I haven’t gotten to you yet, I’m sorry, and I will soon enough.  It’s just hard for me to get off the phone sometimes, despite my assistant screaming at me and threatening to smack me with the long call list.

But I’m getting there.

And having a blast in the process.

3 Things I’ve learned from the NBA, NFL and MLB.

Since Broadway and Off-Broadway shows can’t afford to have marketing laboratories trying every idea we come up with, I often look to other industries to see what they’re doing, in the hopes of being inspired to try something in ours.

Here are three simple ideas that I got from the NBA, the NFL and MLB.

  1. Have a ‘Bat Day’.Need a reason for people to come to the theater on a Tuesday?  Need a reason to get some of your marketing materials in the homes of your advocates?  Most importantly, need a reason to get some press?  Give something away!  People love free stuff, whether it’s a bat, a hat, or a souvenir program.  On Oleanna we gave away Mamet’s latest book, which got us in the press, gave the customers more of a value, and put a big, bulky, hardcover impression on hundreds of coffee tables.
  2. Sell your turf.The NY Giants recently announced that they were selling off the pieces of their stadium before it gets demolished this year.  You can buy turf, seats, even the goal posts.  Why not?  It’s environmentally friendly, it’s gonna make some fans happy, and it’s gonna make the Giants some money.  We just did something similar at Altar Boyz and donated a chunk of the money to BC/EFA, and used the rest to write down some of our closing costs.
  3. Retire your best players’ jerseys.When great players leave the game, they raise the jerseys into the air where everyone can see them and remember the history that is a part of each franchise.  Why don’t long running shows do something like this?  It seems like 3,425 people have played Billy Flynn in Chicago.  I’d love to see a picture (or even the same small costume piece) from each one of them along the walls inside the Ambassador.  And I think audiences would eat it up as well.  A list of well-respected actors that have come before the current cast could give the production even more weight, and more for an audience to talk about.

Marketing is everywhere.  Don’t be afraid to snatch another industry’s idea and make it your own.

They’d do it to us.  The problem is, we haven’t come up with anything first.

Yet.

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