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Once every so often most people will have an “epiphany”, that is the moment in a cartoon when the light bulb goes bright over the head of Donald Duck. I believe my sports marketing epiphany came to me when I was opening some packs of 2005 Upper Deck hockey cards. I came across a Sidney Crosby rookie card and thought “ok,” then I came upon a Alexander Ovechkin card and I was crazy happy! Then I thought a moment, wait, I am supposed to be more psyched about the Crosby card aren’t I?
But why, because the sports marketing people all across the country have been telling me that “Sid the Kid” was the second coming of #99. Then it happened, the light bulb went bright and I realized that I was being fed in small bites the work of Crosby’s agent, manager, coaches, everyone including his mom that he was THAT good. So as the season went along and I along with millions of others was watching the duel between the two on the ice I was almost feeling vindicated that Ovechkin was having the better rookie year.
But more importantly, I rattled through my mind a lot of the other “battles” involving marketing of athletes. I don’t believe that classic matchups such as Chamberlain-Russell, Magic-Larry should be included due to the fact that the world was still so large back then. We did not have the internet with the instant access and 24 news and sports cycles yet. So you can argue that the representatives of today’s athletes have such a broad platform and so many more tools at their disposal. Which I’ve noticed to most fans it seems to work.
The casual fan will buy into the headlines and hype while going on with their day to day lives and then be shocked when the “chosen one” did not win any awards at the end of the year. So in closing, I believe that as hard as the reps work for their guy, the “proof is in the pudding “as my grandma used to say!