A lesson from Freddy Heflin

In the 1997 movie "Copland", Freddy Heflin (played by Sly Stallone), is the local sheriff in a small town in New Jersey. He hasn't got much to do and little chance of progressing his career as the town is full of cops, meaning little crime goes down. Freddy gets a chance though when Internal Affairs agent Moe Tilden (played by Robert DeNiro) lets him know the cops are crooked and that if he sees or hears anything to let him know. He tells Freddy it's his chance to "be a real cop".

Not long after this chat, Freddy does start to discover there's some bad stuff going down but is slow to report it back to Moe. By the time he does, it's too late and Moe's investigation has been shut down. Moe tells Freddy in one of the movie's most quoted lines "you blew it!". As I watched the 36ers half-time entertainment last week, Moe's chilling words came to mind. The half-time entertainment: fans doing the Gangnam Style dance on court. Bad times. It made me think that in a part of the season where there is little competition for sports fans attention and money, the 36ers had blown a chance to take the local sporting spotlight.

The NBL, or more specifically in this case the 36ers, have a great chance to draw crowds in the October-mid November window when there is no AFL or cricket (unless you count the Sheffield Shield which generally draws crowd of  around 45 people and that's including the players). As I shook my head watching the dancing, it made me lament the lack of vision and boldness shown by the marketing and administration. In my opinion the club should "go all in" with it's entertainment budget (and some extra $$$) on the first 3 games to generate some interest, bring in new patrons and get the 36ers in the news. If it's done well, they'll well and truly recover there money. Here's some ideas for next season..........


-Get performers from shows such as "X-Factor" and "The Voice". These shows are hugely popular and certain performers attract a large following. The Tigers got Sarah DeBono recently and if the right person was brought in and properly marketed it would help fill the crowd. Sell tickets via Scoopon etc so the price isn't too much of a turnoff. You could get plenty of these people for $5000-$20,000 for 10 minutes of singing, a chat and a brief signing session.

-Get one of Australia's popular stand-ups who doesn't have to work blue to get a laugh to do a 10 minute spot. Carl Barron, Jimeoin etc would do it well and would be affordable.

-Work in with local touring artists who would be affordable and happy to "cross-promote" by making an appearance eg sell their gear, promotion etc


-Half time videos featuring stories and footage from former 36ers such as Sapwell, Rees, Maher, Ninnis, KB etc. All of them will all provide some great stories and laughs.

-3 on 3 games with the state's top Under 20 talent

-3 on 3 games pitting some of the state's best A grade social teams against each other.

-3 on 3 "Nations" tournament featuring teams made up of some of the state's best players born in other continents ie Africa, America, Asia, Europe etc

-Dunk competitions with some of the best local leapers.

-"Legends" 3 pt shootouts eg Ng/Maher/Brenton/Pearce

-Good local bands

PLEASE GET RID OF............

-Anyone doing any shooting/drills who clearly does not play basketball. Painful. Enough with the kids in the big clothes and dads who do layups like it's 1957.

-Half court shots from people who struggle to make the distance.

There's no reason we can't have 6000 at most games if we market the team and the entertainment correctly. A day at the basketball is a good overall sporting experience. It's easy to get to and from the stadium, the atmosphere is great when the team's winning or the game gets heated and it's all done in 2 hours. The only let down game days is really in the gaps in the game and at half-time.  Let's hope we see some changes soon that bring in more non-traditional supporters, some former season ticket holders and the next generation of fans.

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