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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

P.R. Help Wanted. Apply within to the NBA or Indiana Pacers.

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I will readily admit that l’m not a public relations guru and yes the easiest thing to do is second guess the people who in this particular case are clearly short on basic common sense and quite possibly overcompensated for shall we say, their current professional responsibilities. 

All those advanced degrees and bullet points on their resumes and they still can’t figure this one out without the assistance of a  sports curmudgeon who in the interest of full disclosure doesn’t pay to get in or even for parking at sporting events like so many of you hard-working folks do.

We all know next year’s NBA All Star game will be here in our fair city, and after the Indiana Pacers got yet another endowment from the Capital Improvement Board just in time to spiff up an already perfectly fine Gainbridge Fieldhouse, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and his band of renown are now set to arrive next February, and the Pacers appear to be poised to join the NBA in throwing a big ole gem of a party in the name of entertainment and economic development in a manner you’ve never seen before. All the glitz and glamor you can devour with a side order of hoops thown in for one very low price. Just ask them, they’ll tell you what a bargain it is as they remind you to get your tickets before they’re all gone.  

Recently it was announced that the once highly popular All Star Saturday Night would be held in the massive confines of a football stadium just down the street from their home court in the name of accommodating more blueblood NBA fans.

With no conflicts in terms of the Colts schedule and with no other events such as the always enlightening monster mud tractor championships or another unaffordable stadium gig concert to get in the way, why not turn Lucas Oil Stadium in to a revenue center with an appetite greater than that of both Godzilla and King Kong combined for additional good measurement?

Someone even came up with the idea of charging seventy-nine dollars to watch a scrimmage, three point shooting drill and a dunk contest. That person is part genius and part modern day P.T. Barnum in my book, but l also know this extravaganza is currently structured as a pig in a poke and doesn’t begin to even come close to passing the proverbial sniff test. To be fair, one can also get in that night for less than thirty bucks but you might want to bring binoculars and an oxygen canister for that type of seating arrangement.

I know it sounds rather bold to make such a suggestion, but why not make the entire evening free of charge in terms of admission?

You know, let families who can’t afford to attend and bring their children who are otherwise shutout of an event of this magnitude. That would fit right in with the League’s slogan of “The NBA Cares” while perhaps developing the proper template for future All Star Weekends beyond the trek here locally. 

Now l can just here the decision makers telling me to settle down you bleeding heart liberal, but l ask everyone to explain how connecting the less fortunate and often impoverished with this pro basketball shangri-la could be anything other than a huge public relations bonanza?

What about the operational costs involved they will cry, and how do we offset the pesky expenses? 

Well that’s easy. The NBA can share this coveted opportunity with the corporate entities it currently partners with both globally and right here in Marion County.  Hook both a title sponsor and a presenting sponsor in the same fashion in which you sell your wares year round and bask in the glory of truly impacting those who aren’t capable of paying for ducats, parking, concessions, and souvenirs. Unchain these fans from their televisions and let them enjoy the moment without the obvious financial hardship.

Right here in Indianapolis and throughout the Pacer viewing areas their are multi-billion dollar corporations such as Koch Industries, Anthem, Cummins, Berry Global and Eli Lilly.

Come on guys, let’s pass the hat.

Don’t forget to offer AES, Citizens Energy, Roche Diagnostics, Fed Ex, and Rolls-Royce a piece of that action as we know all the aforementioned can afford to impact the same community it gets generous tax abatements and other financial incentives from to conduct business here.

Let the concession companies donate vastly reduced food and drink in exchange for signage at the event and future contractual considerations. It’s just business and it can be a booming one.

The Pacers themselves also have a clear obligation here too.

They’re the ones who negotiated this All-Star Game deal with the NBA and they’ve demonstrated the ability to impact those in our city who can’t afford to attend an NBA game with their splendid family night tilts where a fan can get an upper level seat, a hot dog, chips, and a soda for just twenty bucks.That’s a helluva deal, so lets come up with a way to lessen that price by twenty thereby making NBA Saturday Night free to all. While you’re at it, throw in complimentary bus rides downtown to and from Lucas Oil Stadium along with  vastly reduced parking rates at all garages and lots within a one mile radius of the venue. 

Herb Simon l know you’re out there, and while you and your late brother have been remarkable stewards of the franchise, you too must open your wallet on this engagement and show us once again that you care about people who are struggling to pay their rent and put food on the table and dont have the resources to attend the festivities that Saturday. Simply distributing a few tickets to not-for-profit agencies is clearly not enough. 

I’m asking quite a bit of those with the the type of vast wealth that is only a pipe dream for the thosands and thousands of  citizens of Indianapolis and the surrounding countries who can’t afford to pay that are true NBA fans, so nothing being requested here is anything you good people can’t do. Make the commitment on this and provide a one night respite for those who truly can’t afford to attend and reap the truly enormous benefit that will come your way and remain with you for the rest of your personal and professional life. How do you put a price tag on it? You can’t.

My proposal will lessen the profit of hosting the event but the moral return will be tremendous.

Until then, the Help Wanted signs l mentioned must remain in your Public Relations Departments.

Danny Bridges who knows his proposal has merit and wonders how many of those he’s calling out will follow their conscience and do the right thing, can be reached at (317) 370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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