November 3, 2014
By: Allison Zullo @allisonzullo
If you follow sports at all, or are from Cleveland, you may have heard about a certain NBA superstar deciding to bring his talents back to Northeast Ohio. Yes LeBron James, four-time NBA MVP and the Cavs’ all-time leading scorer, is back in Cleveland, and brought a new branding strategy for the Cavaliers with him,.. among other things (hi, Kevin Love).
Immediately after James announced his return via a letter published on SI.com on July 11, the Cavs began the process of rebranding with owner Dan Gilbert’s business mantra in mind, “numbers and money follow, but they don’t lead.”
Hours after the announcement went public, the Cavs capped their season ticket sales at 12,000 – and instead of raising prices to ridiculously expensive amounts they opted to keep prices the same. However, the team created a lottery system to make single-game tickets available to all fans, and the prices of these tickets did increase.
The Cavs also added staff members in the sponsorship and PR departments to focus on creating new partnerships with outside companies and to help increase national media coverage. In addition, they also hired more staff to focus on digital content, particularly for restructuring their website (which has been visited nearly 20 times more than this time last year) and to create a mobile app for the arena – which they recently released before the team’s first home game on Oct. 30.
With the influx of revenue from ticket sales and sponsorship deals, in addition to Cleveland hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention, the Cavs were able to invest in Quicken Loans Arena. The “Q” is scheduled to receive nearly $23 million in upgrades over the next 10 months with the most noticeable new addition being the 5,550 square foot scoreboard that sits on the middle of the ceiling in the arena, and is the largest of its kind in the NBA.
Though the Cavs’ rebranding strategies are not noticeable by the average fan (besides the gigantic scoreboard), they have been extremely successful. With their new strategy for ticket sales, and adding staff to their PR and digital content teams, the Cavs are armed and ready for whatever this season holds – which could be some major opportunities ahead thanks to the return of James. Be on the lookout not only for the big things that the Cavs do on the court, but also what their publicity teams are doing off the court.
*Great article to learn more HERE. And Nike Also released a new commercial with LeBron and it gave us chills!