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    A Call to the Booth

    A Call to the Booth - Line Drive Sports Marketing

    Line Drive’s blog isn’t an ongoing narrative. One month doesn’t typically play off the last, but I can’t help but address the mountain of feedback I got back from last month’s review of the Arizona’s sports market. I’m not going to recant on last month’s blog but I definitely want to add some clarification.

    Admittedly, I remain a little frustrated with Arizona’s sports teams but my blog doesn’t serve any purposes beyond communicating advice on either promoting your team or buying sponsorship assets. Last month’s blog may have been a little too much sports commentary and not enough practical business direction.

    Here’s my response to some of the feedback:

    No Mention of UofA

    Perhaps I should have called it a review of Phoenix’s sports market. I say Phoenix because it was mentioned by more than one respondent that I said nothing about UofA. I typically don’t and that has nothing to do the fact that I’m a Sun Devil. I just don’t see them as a player in this market based primarily on the lack of local events. They are absolutely the center of the universe in Tucson and are a legitimate buy for companies that need a statewide presence. If you are interested in sponsorship of UofA Athletics, might I suggest you shoot my good friend Joe Moeller an email at

    Ulterior Motives?

    It was interesting to get feedback that I was “kissing up to ASU…” by speaking positively about their football and basketball teams. I can promise you that was not the case. I know and respect the sponsorship staff over there but have no business affiliation with them whatsoever. While we’re on the subject, I wouldn’t sleep on ASU baseball this season.

    As always, I wish the very best for my friends at ASU.

    Same on the Phoenix Rising. Yes, I am currently partnering with them on a teaching project but no, my glowing endorsement for what they have going on is completely unbiased. Spend 5 minutes talking to Sam Doerr and you’ll know what I mean. He’s young, sharp, and definitely has the Rising in good position to grow revenue regardless of what MLS decides. Sam reminds me of a young Dan Costello.

    Speaking of the Suns, I did get feedback that I was too hard on the Suns. It was certainly not my intention to dogpile on the franchise. They are young but deeply talented. It’s just a matter of time until they get that team straightened out and when they do, watch out. This market LOVES the Suns. As I said last month, they might be best positioned at the top of the buy list as their sponsorship and activation capabilities are the best in the market.

    Contradicts Prior Blog(s)

    I was recently in a meeting with the director of marketing for the Mariners. He made a great point. When your winning you don’t need to put a lot of effort in your marketing efforts to achieve a great deal of success selling tickets. When you are losing you have to put a lot of effort to generate even a little success. In many ways, the same holds true for sponsorship.

    Sponsorship with a losing team in this market requires the team, network, or event to work harder on structuring a deal that will deliver results. It can be done. I said as much in a blog I wrote in September of 2016 (see here). By no means do I think that sponsors that are investing with the Suns or Cardinals are wasting their money. Conversely, there most certainly are sponsors that might be struggling to create ROI with any of Arizona’s sports teams I listed as having success currently.

    More than anything, I appreciate all the feedback… both negative and positive. For me it’s been frustrating to be a fan of some of these teams as well as be a friend to many of the wonderful people who work tirelessly to make sure their sponsors have the success their team may not be having.

    About the author: Ed Olsen is the CEO of Line Drive Sports Marketing. He is a former adjunct professor at Arizona State University and has lots of opinions on all things sports.

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