Thursday, July 27, 2006

Why the Raptors are a great podcasting example

I love basketball, I played the game competitively right up until my 2nd year in university and if you've been to any of my speeches, I use my basketball as part of presentation.

So, when Toronto was awarded an National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise back in the mid-1990s, I was estactic.

Because the Toronto Raptors is in a Canadian city, they've had problems getting the best players to cross the border. Some think that we have 12-months of cold and refuse to come (like Steve Francis). Others say they want to win a championship and immediately want to be traded (like Alonzo Mourning). Others think they'll be payed in Canadian dollars and cite taxes as their main concern. And on and on it goes.

However, the new general manager, Bryan Colangelo, is doing something I think is very smart. Instead of chasing American-born players, he's going after International players. In the world of branding, he "gets it."

Colangelo recently drafted Andrea Bargnani from Italy as his #1 pick in the NBA Draft earlier this spring. Along with 2 players from Spain and 1 from Slovenia, the Raptors are beginning to look a bit like the United Nations.

In turn, having these International players on the roster means that more Canadians who identify themselves as decendents from these countries will start to fill the seats. Which means a packed stadium. Which means more revenue. Which means Colangelo is just so damn smart.

Toronto is a multicultural city. While we say we're Canadian, many will claim another country as their roots. Even those who were born in Canada will claim their parents or grandparents land as their source of pride. It's not to say that we don't love Canada. On the contrary, Canadians will fiercely defend their adoptive or native land. However, because many of us are influenced by the customs of other countries while being raised, it's way more fun to have both feet firmly planted in 2 countries.

When Yao Ming was drafted by the Houston Rockets, people were shocked. Why bring in a Chinese player who can't even speak English, some said. However, when the Houston Rockets made their way to Toronto for a game, the Air Canada Centre (ACC) where the Raptors play their home games was packed with Chinese Canadians.

Colangelo is on to something. By bringing in International players, he's building a team that directly reflects the very city the Raptors play in.

Just brilliant.

Now, what does this have to do with podcasting? Well, you've got to know your brand before you can craft your podcasting strategy. But knowing your brand is the first step. You also need to provide information in your podcast that directly influences a particular niche. That way, you will gain new subscribers who will stay with you for the long haul.

Pull a Colangelo with your podcast.

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