Monday, February 16, 2009

The Viewership Motive

You read about these trades and the analysis always comes down to one thing. Why?

Almost everyone agrees on the motives for this Marion O'Neal swap:

The Raptors: Athletic, defensive true SF who knows he can't shoot and cap space now.

Miami: Post presence, cap in 2010, shed Banks and some kind of pick.

But everyone has left out one other motive, the corporate motive or what I call, the viewership motive.

How many of you will watch on Wednesday with renewed faith? It's so bizarre how one move can inspire, how one move can renew our faith in a team that is beyond a one player fix. Yet we look on, hoping and believing that maybe Marion is our white knight. In the end, we, like all true fans are suckers for punishment. We watch always hoping that this is the one that gets them going. We believe so desperately that this game is the one, that this player is the guy. But how money would put your money where your hope is? If you do, then all I can say is, marry me.

Take this one step back and just reflect on the O'Neal trade again. When it first happened, I believe in Raptor nation that the true INITIAL reaction was we gave up all our assets for someone who WAS great and is likely to get injured. But as time went on, our small snowball of hope grew to a boulder. Yes his last good season was 3 years ago, but maybe, JUST MAYBE this is the year he's healthy and comes roaring back. Maybe he really is that one player solution when we all knew and recognized that with our pieces we needed 3 things, a back up pg, a defensive wing, and a solid scorer. But despite the fact that everyone recognized the gaps, we all believed, myself included that maybe if this works, none of those things matter.

Note to self, any deficiency you can see at first glance, MATTERS!

At the end of the day however, we were still happy, but do you know who was happier? With hope at its highest point in years, the bandwagons so full they might have to refuse passengers, MLSE was probably having the time of their lives. Whether the trade worked or not at the end of the day, people were watching and sadly, thats all MLSE wants. What's even sadder is that we can't help but buy in. Our love for our team, our hope to be part of something special is being exploited. We've come to exaggerate and overhype any move as time progresses much to the appreciation of MLSE. After all, word of mouth is the most powerful marketing. In fact, I bet so many people are talking and hyping this trade, that there is a contingent out there determined to see Banks solve our PG woes. Hopefully, the contingent believes enough to exist for the three years we'll have him. Ironically, it spreads to the players to. I couldn't help but notice Bosh's initial reaction being fairly mellow, but after a night of digestion, he was more convinced this would work, more excited. At least we're not the only suckers.

I'm right up there with the fans hoping that this will help us get over the hump but at the end of the day, a first round exit is still a failure of a season. Since thats likely to be the peak of our season no matter what, why bother with the trade anyways. The grass is much greener in 2010. An answer has to be the viewer motive. The trade that isn't about winning, not today, maybe not even for the future. In times of uncertainty, marketers use what is dependable and unfortunately for us, that is our hope. This move is a move to renew faith, gain interest, and with more and more vowing not to watch the Raptors again, the motive is simply get more people watching again.

Unfortunately it's probably on TSN 2 so we can't.


  1. Winning isn't everything. If it's all about winning, it wouldn't be interesting; and you wouldn't support your team (if they weren't winners().

    The struggle, in my opinion makes the average fan fascinated.

    Maybe I'm alone in my thinking...

    E.g. If you were a millionaire from the beginning and always maintained that million your story would be bland and untold. It wouldn't be as interesting as the story of you being poor and then working hard, making the right moves, to become millionaire.

    Failure, is the part that makes life worth living....

    Best Regards,

  2. oh i agree, the struggle is fun but it's suppose to get less. Thats what the season 2 years ago was all about, overcoming that struggle, and turning ourselves into a force. The dissapointments comes from the significant steps back each year. Moves now should be about improving, the team has struggled enough.

  3. the raptors and the organization definitely set themselves up for failure with that huge restructuring offseason a few seasons ago. it was amazing shock value, much like these trades (yet nowhere near as great), and it actually manifested into a tangible division title. BUT, the fact still remains, like you said, that the changes in the following years have not nearly created outcomes as good/beneficial.

    with this trade, i'll take the ride for what it is, knowing that the first round is impossible to surpass. my excitement was renewed with the spurs game. i havent been that excited about a raps win since the playoffs, i think.

  4. Very true point much as I'm blase about the Raps still, I'm going to be watching with keen interest as soon as the games start again, can't lie. And "Unfortunately it's probably on TSN 2 so we can't." lol nice.