Thursday, November 26, 2015

"Posing for holy cards": the Nets and the Thanksgiving giveaway

Yes, it may seem churlish to look critically at the Brooklyn Nets' recent charity/media event, helping give out Thanksgiving turkeys and other food to needy families via the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger.

After all, it does short-term good, helping hundreds of needy families, and shows the basketball players in unselfish mode.

But really, do you think the Nets would do this without the reciprocal promise and expectation of significant media coverage (aka "earned media")?

After all, this event, which surely cost the Brooklyn Nets more in organizational time than money--partner Key Food supplied all the food--generated coverage on their own web site (and video), television coverage via WPIX (a Barclays Center partner!) and News12, an article in the Brooklyn Paper (a Forest City Ratner tenant!), and blog mentions in Kings County Politics, the Brooklyn Reader, and NetsDaily. (And maybe more.)

Above right is a telling screenshot from the Brooklyn Reader video: that's Barclays/Nets CEO Brett Yormark in the background, masterminding the media event.

As I wrote in March 2013, community and charity events from the Nets and the Barclays Center are like "posing for holy cards," as a former food industry executive put it, regarding his company's sponsorship efforts.

In Brooklyn, there's a "sports entertainment corporation" trying to make money, distracting from more complicated issues like worker pay, the discontinued promise of $15 tickets, construction/operational impacts, and some sweet land deals.

Those are the kinds of stories the arena and Nets do not present to media outlets.

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