Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Boycotting the games isn't the answer for Colorado Rockies fans, boycotting the sponsors might be

The Rockies brand needs to be a bad one.
This too shall pass.

Colorado Rockies fans are starting to wonder if that famous saying is actually true. Lately it seems that the suffering will never, ever pass.

On Tuesday, Rockies owner Dick Monfort was at it again. Instead of going off and hiding in the woods somewhere without his iPad, iPhone, or any other connection to the internet, Monfort jumped onto the airwaves on 850 KOA for a full hour with Dave Logan and Susie Wargin.

Monfort's goal in all of these interviews has been to explain his line of thinking, to ease fans minds and explain where things are going. In each of these opportunities, Monfort has tripped over his own feet and made the situation worse.

The reality is, Monfort can't help but trip over his own feet, and Jay Alves, the Rockies PR Director, has stood by and watched. At some point, Alves needed to look his boss in the eye and beg him to stay far, far away from the media and anything that could possibly fuel the fire that started when Monfort rudely replied to a disappointed fan.

However, Monfort continues to dig his hole deeper. With each passing interview, fans grow more and more upset with the way things are going. The biggest disappointment is simple. There seems to be a disconnect from Monfort about what needs to happen for the Rockies to win. He seems to be the only guy in the world who thinks that Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivett are the right guys for the job. It seems that even if the Rockies end up losing 100 or more games, Monfort won't even consider changing the course of this ship.

Angry Rockies fans have been calling for a boycott for a long time. However, anyone who attends Rockies games knows that calling for Rockies fans to boycott Coors Field simply won't work. It will just free up more tickets for the guy who wants to watch a gorgeous sunset with perfectly manicured grass in one of the most beautiful ballparks in the world. For so many, Coors Field is an activity, it isn't about winning and losing. So if fans boycott, the impact will be minimal.

With that reality in mind, frustration grows even more. Fans have their hands tied. If they can't boycott, and no amount of emails to the owner is going to convince him that he has to do some homework and figure out who might be able be a president or general manager at Coors Field, then there seems like there is nothing that will work.

However, one thing hasn't been mentioned. The reality is, ticket sales provide teams with a nice chunk of money, but the reality is, the bulk of the money comes from the TV contracts, which sell sponsorships. Also, take a look around Coors Field. There are no less than 25 sponsors that advertises around Coors Field, whether it is Toyota with their big truck next to the scoreboard, or Marley Coffee with a rectangle sign next to the scoreboard on the facade of the upper level, there are a multitude of sponsors who pay big money for their name to be displayed in front of thousands of fans 81 times per season.

Take a look at the page on the Rockies website that gives information on corporate sponsorships. The first statement that is made is "align your brand with the Colorado Rockies and our loyal and expanding fan base through a corporate partnership."

In the day and age of social media, where things can go viral extremely quickly, it might be time for Rockies fans to demand a boycott not of the team, but of any corporation who chooses to spend their money advertising with the Rockies. What if the Facebook and Twitter accounts for every company that has a painted billboard above the visitors bullpen was barraged by angry potential customers who let them know that they will not be doing business with that company until they are no longer associated with a brand that embarrasses the state of Colorado like the Rockies? Rockies fans could quickly show corporations that the statement made by the Rockies about aligning their brand with the Rockies is not something that they want to be a part of.

What if Southwest Airlines, who seemingly advertises between every inning on Root Sports got email accounts flooded and social media feeds jammed with people telling them that they will be flying a different airline until Southwest no longer purchases TV spots in Rockies games.

Imagine if marketing directors of some of these big corporations were getting letters and emails from Rockies fans telling them how disappointed they are that this company would associate itself with such a terrible brand like the Rockies, one that doesn't value it's customers and one in which the owner sends disrespectful emails that include threats, going as far as telling paying customers, the same ones who these people are marketing their brand to, not to come to games.

A boycott of the team simply isn't the answer. No protest outside of the stadium, or some mid-game walk-out is going to do the trick. Those types of efforts might be noble, and no one can fault anyone with any idea that even has a slight chance of bringing change, but if the idea is that the Rockies won't make any changes until it hits the owners in the wallet, simply agreeing not to purchase a few $15 tickets isn't going to do it.

However, businesses hate to look bad. They hate bad publicity. Brands generally like to associate with a well-liked brand that is safe. If they start to get a feeling that the Rockies brand isn't just bad baseball, but a brand that doesn't value it's paying customers, then it might make these businesses, who spend big money, decide that they want to spend that marketing money elsewhere, or at least cut back.

If Rockies fans want to see change, wait until a few of the big-dollar huge-name sponsors tells the Rockies that they are pulling their sponsorship because of the negative viewpoint that the public has on the team. That might be the only way for Rockies fans to truly voice their opinion and force change.

Dick Monfort has made it clear that under no circumstances will anything change in the offseason. The only way that Rockies fans can make the point is to boycott the people who are lining the Monfort's pockets, their corporate sponsors.

Boycotting the Rockies sponsors might not make Dick Monfort make changes in the front office, but at this point, it couldn't hurt. It might be the only voice that Rockies fans have.

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  1. This is an excellent idea but I'm not sure there are enough angry Rockies fans that would organize themselves enough to pull this off. I REALLY hope this works but I truly have my doubts there are enough of us to pull this off.

  2. The real problem as your story suggests is Coors field is more of a social event. I would bet a rather large percentage don't even know the is going on until the 7th inning when alcohol sales cease. I also believe the Rockies single handedly increased viewership of the World Cup games by their lack of performance.

  3. 80% of the tix are bought by the corporate sponsors...he does not need "fans"...

    1. Yeah but if the sponsors go away... no more 80%

  4. That's actually a good idea, but as with any idea - implementation is key.

    Most importantly, fans should just stop watching ROOT's broadcast. You won't miss anything and not having to listen to Drew Goodman's nonsensical, idiotic, propaganda jibberish is always a good idea. Switch to KOA for the rest of the season and ask your friends to do the same.

    If you'd like to make a stand - in front of a building - Wells Fargo, King Soopers and Jimmy Johns are the best ideas. KS and JJ can be completely boycotted and all you'll get are better products. Few would change their accounts from WF, but they fret bad PR in their competitive business and like KS, have multiple locations to easily arrange gatherings.

    Sports Authority, the Denver Post and Stranahan's MUST maintain a good public image and support from the community. (I had to look up that last one. Many times I've seen their sign, but had no idea what it said or was until now) While I doubt many would change their habits, hitting these with bad PR would be very effective. The Denver Post has a monopoly in Colorado, but in a rapidly declining business; Sports Authority needs the fragile goodwill from fans to remain after their Mile High screw up; Stranahan's is a CO company that's been wasting money on their ad and has no reason to remain.

    Coors, Coke, Toyota, Dish and Southwest are all sponsors that boycotting or making a scene won't effect. Coors for it's long-term deal and Coke as a ubiquitous sports sponsor. With the other three, few would change their purchasing habits or care about their image over the Rox's.

    While not all these companies are equal in sponsorship or funding, a message sent to any one would reverberate through all their marketing departments. As Martin pointed out, and I agree, this could be the best way for Rockies' fans to make a point to the Monforts - by effectively hitting them in the wallet.

  5. How about if we all just quit caring about anything Rockies? Broncos start training camp soon, Avs will be good again this year. Even better go to Coors field to enjoy cheering for your favorite visiting team and enjoy a beautiful Colorado summer evening.

    1. Yes let root for people given each other brain injuries!

  6. The Rockies have turned into the team that you go to a game to see the other team play. Rockies always swan dive mid season and struggle to not lose 100 games.

    1. Swan dive, HA! I love it! So true!

  7. Time for a change.

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  9. I have been an 85% er since I moved to CO in 2006.. That's about how many games I've either watched, been at or listed to on KOA. I consider myself a true Rockies Fan but this year is Killing ME! I agree with almost everything said in this post. The head honchos in the FO only understand $$ signs. If they don't fluctuate beyond the breaking point they dont see anything wrong and not much will change. Walking out on a game or two is like stubbing their toe.. It will sting for a minute or two and then the pain goes away. You (we) have to hit them where it hurts most. Not that im just going to turn in my King Soopers card and never shop their again but if we a do a few little things it will add up quickly and maybe,, maybe someday we'll have an organization we can all be proud of. As things currently are its embarrassing to watch a front office put on a face for the fans as if we're all idiots. Its down right shameful.