http://www.nj.com/business/ledger/index.ssf?/base/business-9/1111643568249840.xmlWhat's old is new again at the Nets under Chief Executive Brett Yormark.
Time was when season ticket-holders and top corporate sponsors could jump onto chalk-talk conference calls with the team's coaches and executives, or rub shoulders with players at receptions.
That all ended when Lou Lamoriello ran the franchise's business operations from 200l until last summer. Lamoriello believed in letting the basketball players and coaches focus on basketball rather than asking them to schmooze with loyal customers. Lamoriello believed less schmoozing would help produce more winning. He may have been right, since the Nets went to two NBA finals during his tenure.
Nevertheless, three months into the Yormark era, the Nets are once again all about access as they fight the never-ending battle to fill the thousands of open seats at the Continental Airlines Arena.
"Access is how we're going to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace," Yormark said earlier this week. "We're going to try stuff that no one else is trying."
In the Nets world, the access started to come in the form of moving the post-game radio show into the Nissan Courtside Club and letting fans ask the guest players some of the questions.
There will also be pancake breakfasts at a local diner with team President Rod Thorn and 10 season ticket-holders. For this summer, Yormark is planning what he calls his "ticket-influencer program." The team is identifying key season ticket-holders and will throw catered cocktail parties in their homes -- including guest appearances from a player or coach -- if the host can guarantee to bring in 25-50 potential customers.
Definitely a good thing, and our board right here is benefitting from the Nets' new fan-friendly policies.