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.


Favorite Quotes Vol. XXII: Fair is fair.

I was fortunate enough to be tapped to produce this year’s NYU Tisch School of the Arts Gala honoring Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, Sheila Nevins, Marcia Gay Harden and Diana King (I was even more fortunate to actually go to Tisch, where thanks to one of my professors, I was introduced to a guy who would kick start my career).

We had a kick-off party in LA at the beginning of the summer, and one of NYU’s benefactors, Steve Tisch (who knows quite a few things about kick-offs, since he’s a co-owner of the NY Giants), offered this piece of advice for folks beginning their careers:

Remove the word fair from your vocabulary.

Things happen all the time in this world (and so often in this industry) that just don’t make sense, that don’t seem fair, and sometimes, that just aren’t right.

Don’t try and figure it out.  You never will.

Scream it out for ten seconds, then suck it up, and soldier on.

It sounds like Steve does something like this.

And if you read that Wikipedia entry, it looks like it’s working for him, so it’s gotta be a good idea for the rest of us.