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The Yormark rules? Rumblings of uneasiness at Nets' practice of courting sponsors

NetsDaily blogger Net Income (aka Bobbo) pointed out a couple of blog entries on the Star-Ledger/ web site, which both Matthew McQueeny and Dave D’Alessandro questioned whether a new coach would accept the team's apparent practice of letting sponsors and other big spenders access to practices and the team's plane.

The answer was no--a suggestion that current coach Lawrence Frank may be a better fit with team management than some critics think.

Unmentioned is the source of the policy, but a major influence--as Net Income suggested--must be Nets CEO Brett Yormark, an uber-marketer who's regularly devising ways to court sponsors.

A marketable coach?

McQueeny noted that Frank isn't necessarily seen as marketable:
That is a double-edged sword, because a marketable coach is not necessarily all good for the marketers, particularly how marketing is defined at the Nets. Pat Riley (not a candidate here, just for example) is/was a marketable coach, with the slicked back hair, the great suits, etc. a marketable coach is not necessarily all good for the marketers, particularly how marketing is defined at the Nets.
But, try to sneak a sponsor onto a team charter, try to put a non-basketball team employee even on the travel manifest, and you will be rudely awakened. Frank allows this stuff to happen. He is a very good man, earnest, and strategically very well-schooled and thought out. And he plays along with the at times over-the-top access allowed to sponsors, businesses, and season ticket holders.

All-access sponsors

D’Alessandro wrote a speculative account of the Tuesday board meeting. (NetIncome supplied the dramatis personae: Yormark and team president Rod Thorn.)

[Thorn] “Look, I’ve got an idea for you: Why don’t you dial this number — a guy named Jeff Van Gundy is awaiting your call.”
[Yormark] “Okay. And what should I do when he answers?”
[Thorn] “Tell him you’re hiring him to be the next coach of the Nets.”
[Yormark] “That’s it?”
[Thorn] “And then ask him how he feels about your filling up all the empty seats on the team plane with corporate clients, or having sponsors crash practice at your whim. Let us all know what he thinks of that idea.”
(Twenty seconds of silence)
[Yormark] “You know, I’ve always liked Lawrence.”

What next?

If the Nets are having a tough time now, imagine what kind of access Yormark's promising sponsors in Brooklyn?


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