Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar for Firth

We were rootin' for Colin Firth as we watched the Academy Awards Sunday night. I was disappointed that he didn't wear his Bulls' jersey. Still, it's great to have an Oscar winning actor among the pantheon of
celebrities that have visited the DBAP.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Students! Explore a Career in Television

Bulls’ Director of Media Relations/Promotions, Matt DeMargel, is making the rounds at local high schools this week recruiting students for Explorer Post 50. This unique learning opportunity provides high school students with hands-on television production experience – possibly more exposure to the medium than they would receive in a college-level program!

The teenagers produce our in-house TV feed and over-the-air/cable baseball broadcasts in the Raleigh-Durham television market. The MLB Network picked up a couple of our games last season for national broadcast, and it’s likely that the kids will get a shot at that resume-building experience again this summer!

Matt has been to Orange and Chapel Hill high schools and Durham School of the Arts. Hillside NewTech and Jordan are on his schedule as well. He’s looking for wannabe HD camera operators and fledgling technicians to handle instant replay, graphics and camera control positions on the volunteer broadcast crew. (After a few years in the program, you might work your way up to “director.”)

We ask Post 50 members to commit to working a minimum of five games per season, and most participants do 15-20 broadcasts. A few get the broadcasting bug and you’ll find them here for every game.

Post 50 is part of the Boy Scouts’ Exploring program…for girls, too. Its name is attributable to Fox50, our TV station that airs the Bulls games. The ball club and Fox50 jointly sponsor the Post. Contact Matt DeMargel for more info:

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Really Bad Monday at the Office

During the early days of the recession it sometimes felt as though the roof had caved in...but today it took on a literal meaning at our Highwoods radio studios.

A crew was doing some HVAC work on the roof...something went wrong...and Sports Radio GM Brian Maloney had an instant skylight.

We can laugh about this because Brian was observing Presidents Day outside the office. Had a meeting been in progress, it might have been a different (and more newsworthy) story.

So much for the prestige of that corner office!?!

HAVE Durham!

The Bulls support and promote Durham Cares, a faith-based non-profit that supports and promotes other Durham non-profits.

DC attempts to direct volunteers and funding to human service providers with strong track records and financial transparency.

Co-founder Henry Kaestner brings a successful business background to that mission…so you hear a lot about business metrics and strategy being applied to charity work. Of equal importance, however, he brings a big heart. DC's mission statement is not original, but it's on point:
Love your neighbor.

I commend this DC video to your viewing. The organization released it last week...on Valentine’s Day:

Monday, February 14, 2011

DNA of Top Sales Reps

What makes a great salesperson? We asked our top marketing representatives that question. They’re the experts after all.

Every January Capitol Broadcasting Company recognizes its outstanding salespeople. Thirteen men and women received awards last month. They are the leading TV Account Executives in Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte and Wilmington; the top radio sales reps in the Triangle and along Carolina’s coast. They market global satellite services, the Internet and mobile technology. Sports marketing rounds out the portfolio, collegiate and professional teams.

Each award-winning AE was asked to name two key characteristics of a high-achieving salesperson. With the help of CBC's Corporate Web Editor, Andrea Osborne, I compiled their answers:
  • Integrity
  • Spirited: happy, enthusiastic, confident & passionate
  • Persistent
  • Organized
  • Driven
  • Goal oriented - setting daily, weekly, monthly & yearly objectives
  • Patient
  • Knows when to walk away from a bad deal
  • Creative
  • Customer service: consistent, go-the-extra-mile service
  • Good listener (& knows when to shut up!)
  • Builds relationships
  • Belief in your product
  • Student of your industry & always learning
  • Teflon coated: don't let anything bother you
I believe that I have the outline for a top-selling business book!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oh Say Can You...Sing?

I rise to defend Christina Aguilera. She’s taken a beating for her National Anthem flub at the Super Bowl. At least she was dressed tastefully. I was relieved that she didn't wear a bustier…so cut her some slack!

The Brooklyn Cyclones ball club has invited her to NYC for a do-over this summer. The Durham Bulls would be happy to offer one of our games for atonement, too.

I’ve heard a lot of National Anthems. We present 72 of them per year. It’s a tough tune. Some singers try too hard…get carried away…or get nervous…and run aground. When we owned the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, we had a gentlemen in his 70’s sing the NA one evening. This guy was a basso profundo…tremendous delivery. However, he totally winged it with the lyrics…concocted a new version of the song…but musically, it was on the money.

The Bulls will hold try-outs for NA singers on February 26th. Our Director of Promotions and Media Relations, Matt DeMargel, will be listening for respectful, traditional renditions that time out at seventy seconds. We’re not looking for a Mariah Carey-style glissando where the singer runs up and down the scale and stretches the anthem to three minutes. (On second thought, I could probably convince Matt to let Mariah take a crack at it.)

I asked Matt to list his top five NA performances at the DBAP (in no particular order)...

Country artist Jason Michael Carroll

Broadway’s Patti LuPone

Gospel singer Shirley Caesar

American Idol’s Clay Aiken

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cancelled: Cheesehead Alert

We’re relieved. Mike Birling returned to the office Tuesday after his Super Bowl odyssey. He’s pretty much on cloud nine after the Packers' win, but Mike has horror stories about the long lines, prices and poor customer service.

I heard ESPN’s NFL Insider John Clayton give Super Bowl XLV a grade of D. Ouch! I haven’t heard any apologies from Jerry Jones, though. He built a grand stadium, but it appears they have some work to do on logistics and hospitality. Even DFW can get too big for its britches?

Actually, the Super Bowl is an NFL event. A New York Times blogger takes the league to task: League's Greed Left No Room for the Fans. ("Must you inhale every nickel? Must you charge $200 for fans to stand outside the stadium and watch on large screens?")

Another one of my cheesehead co-workers who made the trip says it was incredibly exciting and frustrating at the same time. “It's not something I'll do again unless it is FREE and totally VIP.” He confessed that he would relax those high standards if the Packers were playing. I’m not surprised.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cheesehead Alert!

We are very concerned about Bulls' GM Mike Birling. He took his family to the Super Bowl, but tweets and Facebook postings have been sparse...and he's normally pretty chatty on social media. He has disappeared from the grid!??!

Mike's kids made a fleeting in-the-background appearance on the Fox pre-game show, but his only Facebook post came at about 11pm Sunday via his Blackberry:

"Tears falling down my face."

That's the last anyone heard from him. I assume that he has entered some sort of cheesehead nirvana that can be truly appreciated only by Wisconsin natives.

His Packer loyalty was certainly rewarded last night...his post-Favre depression resolved. He went to Dallas without tickets. A compulsion. A pilgrimage. (No one in our company could nab seats for him, and we have pretty good connections. It was very humbling.) But Mike went anyway, and we believe that he did get into the stadium...only rumors, confirmation.

Mike, let us hear from you!?! Send a tweet. Post a photo. Please!

(That is not Mike in the photo.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Downtown Durham - the Entertainment District

The Lion King was a tremendous success at the Durham Performing Arts Center. GM Bob Klaus tells me that 81,000 patrons attended 28 sell-out performances in January. Lion King in Durham was the most successful return engagement of a Broadway show in the history of Triangle theater!

In the true spirit of baseball, I have more stats…

The DPAC released its attendance results for 2010 in early January. 307,000 visitors for concerts, Broadway shows and other events. A total of 151 performances. 59 were sellouts. (Read the full story in the Herald-Sun; click here.)

The theater has been a game-changer for downtown Durham. Our company is a founding sponsor. We’re proud of the DPAC’s success and how our neighbor compliments the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

In 2011 the DPAC and the DBAP will hold over 250 events attracting close to 700 thousand patrons.

Here’s how things are likely to shake out…

DPAC events: 100 theater performances, 5-10 comedy shows, 10-15 family shows, 15-25 concerts, 20 American Dance Festival performances, 1-5 special events.

DBAP events: 18 Duke Baseball games, 13 ACC Baseball Tournament games, 72 Bulls regular season games, 2-4 USA Baseball Games, 10-15 special events.

On top of the theater and ballpark events, the American Tobacco campus is likely to host four or more festival-type events.

My first season with the Bulls was 2000, and we played our regular season and play-off games. A decade later we have a 230% increase in downtown events!

Recent DPAC story: Top Ten Theaters in US! (from Triangle Business Journal)

Next up at the ballpark: Duke Baseball commences on March 4th vs. LaSalle.