Newspapers talk up attendance

Basketball fans this morning woke up to find reports on Melbourne United being hammered by the Cairns Taipans and then find an article praising the off court support for Melbourne United

United CEO Vince Crivelli was quoted in the newspaper as saying the following
“It’s a good start. This time last year, to be honest, we were playing out of a 3000-seat venue and we were struggling to fill it.”

Melbourne Tigers fans particularly those who attended those games at the beginning of the 2013/14 season report that ‘The Cage’ had a healthy if not packed attendance and when matches went to the Hisense Arena the crowds got bigger and pushing into the 6000 range, the attendance of 5704 at yesterday’s game is also questioned for sections of empty seats were spotted at the game and on TV and sections were covered up, the sections that were covered up are only uncovered when ticket sales pass 6,001 so there was not a huge demand for tickets.

The newspaper described the courtside action at the game which is contestable by those in attendence as we have below the quote below.
“The new mascot was a walking basketball and a bloke in a sparkly silver coat to rival Joffa’s get-up warmed up the crowd. And, as always, there were the Dodo girls.

In a move to enhance the match-day experience, VIP seats ringed the court, following the lead of the NBA, but, alas, there were no movie stars courtside. The crowd vibe was good; Melbourne chants punctuated the play, the hand clappers were out and Mark Worthington got the United fans up and about early when he put the first score on the board for the game.”

VIP seats were reported to be mostly empty and in one photograph of the playing action the VIP’s could be seen looking everywhere else but the action, the crowd vibe was reported by many to be rather flat, the Mascot is named Mr Baller and the Melbourne chants were ‘B-A-L-L-E-R-S Ballers!’ which confused people because since when do a team chant the name of a mascot leaving some to wonder if the team name is really the CTI Melbourne United Ballers and not CTI Melbourne United in that case people would rather work in a sewage plant than support a professional team called Ballers which can easily be called Bawlers by those who love a wisecrack.

The newspaper writer forgot to mention that outside the court is the six retired jerseys of the Melbourne Tigers (including the demanded to remove Lanard Copeland’s #21 jersey) and the four championship banners earned by the Melbourne Tigers, the writer also forgot to mention that none of United’s promises to honour the other Victorian teams that graced the NBL were honoured with their own jerseys and other materials.

The newspaper article writer had this to say about the change from the Melbourne Tigers to Melbourne United.
“But, just five months after announcing the controversial decision to change the team’s name from Melbourne Tigers, Crivelli said the team had a good platform to build from.”

The team had a good platform to build on because the front office and coaching staff were largely Tigers from the 2013/2014 season, the playing roster is largely the same as the 2013/14 season with even this years additions being ex Tigers, the courts were largely used by the Tigers, Facebook likes were helped by the page being the Melbourne Tigers page before May 20 and even Melbourne United Fan Weekly were operating as Melbourne Tigers Fan Weekly, it should also be noted that promotional efforts for United were bigger than any promotional effort made by Kestleman, Sleepoy and Crivelli when they ran the Tigers.

At long last Melbourne Tigers fans opposed to Melbourne United finally got a say in the press, these fans efforts were nothing short of fantastic as they conducted themselves in the finest possible manner and were well received by those who stopped by them although some have reported that security guards were on hand to intimidate Tigers supporters, below is what the newspaper had to say.

“But some had already made up their mind before the game had started. A small group of long-time Melbourne Tigers’ fans staged their own mini-protest out the front of Hisense Arena before the game, handing out `Save Our Melbourne Tigers’ flyers.

Decked out in their Tigers’ gear, they held banners reading `Tigers forever, United never’, `Tiger Pride, United Shame’ and `United in Treachery’.

Dedicated Tigers’ supporter Graham Allen, 65, said he’d been supporting the Tigers for more than 25 years, but wouldn’t be following United. “Our main beef is they didn’t consult anybody,” Allen said. “They’ve got rid of everything that even looks like the Tigers and they’ve come up with this strange idea that a whole bunch of people that don’t support anything will come and support this, I don’t follow that one. “I’ve heard all the justifications … we’ve watched other teams start in Melbourne, all fail, the only one that survived is the Tigers.”

Vince Crivelli had the last words in the newspaper article with the following;

“I think we learn a lot from today both on the court and off the court on how to present our game and our brand,” Crivelli said.

“Once you invite people to join you on a campaign, I think it becomes very powerful. The word unite is there to actually call to action.”

Inviting people to join a campaign is one thing, getting them to join is another and by all appearances after the first day the campaign will be harder than what Vince Crivelli and those at United HQ (Tigers HQ) have envisioned especially if losses such as the one on Sunday switch and the wrong spreading of information switches the public off.

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