Saturday, June 30, 2012

Why the NFL Should Make the Patriots' London Trip Permanent

By Zach Baru

Even if every ownership group in the National Football League disagreed with having the Patriots become a permanent visiting team to London, you can't argue with the fan base New England has across the pond.  Just visit, and see for yourself.

The Patriots certainly have a strong following in New England and all around the United States, but across the pond, the Boston-London connection has transitioned to american football.  If you think the Liverpool soccer match at Fenway later this summer will be loud, wait until the Patriots travel to a sold-out Wembley Stadium with over 90,000 fans.  And you can bet the vast majority will be for the Patriots.

It is not only in the Patriots' best interest, but the entire league, that a strong fan base is awarded a chance to see the team they so passionately support.  And even if certain fans in England do not have a specific NFL team to root for, establishing a connection to one team each year will increase their chance of following the league passionately.

For travel purposes, the Patriots make an excellent candidate to visit London over other franchises.  Not to mention they have an ownership group that understands the importance of international outreach.  The Krafts want to do much more than just sell merchandise.  They want to continue a following that has maintained their support for many years, creating an international fan base many franchises do not have.

Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celtics Marketing Needs Big Three

By Zach Baru

For the next five minutes, forget about anything that happens on the court.  Just think of each of the 18,624 seats in the TD Garden that have been filled every single game for 4 of the last 5 seasons.  It is this reason alone that the "Big Three" are just as much of a marketing presence on the court, than a defensive presence on the court.

With the exception of the 2009-2010 season, the Celtics sold to 100% capacity each season since the 2007-2008 season, when Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett came to Boston. For some reason, during the '09-'10 season, the Celtics' average attendance was 455 seats short of selling out every game.  Still, at 18,169 fans per game, the effect the Big Three have had on the box office is obvious.

Before their arrival, the Celtics had not sold out a season since the last season in the old Boston Garden, 1994-1995.  This drought is something the Celtics would not like to incur again, and the Celtics would be best playing it safe and milking the brand of the Big Three out for everything it is worth.

This current version of the Big Three still has the fascination and attention of the region.  This has been displayed in ticket sales this season, which was not suppose to turn out the way it did.  Earlier in the year, demand was so low that the Celtics were wisely lowering ticket prices via Facebook on certain game days to as low as $24 for box office tickets.

As it turned out, the season ended with another 100% capacity, a trend that can only continue with the region in demand for a product that is, well, in demand.  Without the Big Three, this would be a challenge.  With them - and yes, all of them - the Celtics should enjoy another season of box office success.

Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at