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Thread: Mike Burch tells it like it is....

  1. #1
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    Mike Burch tells it like it is....

    Mike Burch is with the Hornets marketing and promotions department in some capacity (not sure what his exact title is) and has been with the Hornets now for about two years. He visits the charlotte.com Hornets forum from time to time, and sometimes posts a message on that board when asked a question by one of the forum regulars.

    Recently, a couple of the charlotte.com forumites wanted to know from Burch about the efforts of the Hornets organization to lure disgruntled fans back to the Hive in a "what-have-you-done-for- me-lately" kind of tone. Burch's response was incredible. When I read it, I had to ask myself why in the world the Hornets fans in Charlotte would ever feel like they have been "cheated" somehow by the organization. Anyway, I have posted both the question and response(s) below:

    CAROLINA BLUES TO MIKE BURCH:

    I found your response to the other post interestingly alluding. Please clarify for me exactly what the Hornets have done to entice fans to the Hive since your fearless leader Ray Wooldridge bought into the team? I read that your marketing department was considered one of the best in the league. If this is true then you have been instructed to purposely perform well below your capabilities. If that is also true, I suspect this relocation effort has been going on far longer than anyone cares to admit, which would surely illustrate to everyone just how shady Ray Wooldridge really is. So Mr. Burch, I challenge you to come out with the truth. After all it's a foregone conclusion that the Hornets are relocating to Nawlins, what do you have to lose except a guilty conscience?

    W_HAMILTON TO MIKE BURCH:

    I know when you first came to the organization Mike, you went to the HornetsWeb board and said you were going to try and win those fans back that the team had been losing over the years. You said you were going to do whatever it takes to get them back, and encourage new fans to come to the games. So what became of all that?

    MIKE BURCH'S RESPONSE:

    Just off the top of my head...
    lowest single game ticket prices in the NBA this season, second lowest last season
    no price increases in four years
    award winning ad campaign this season
    introduction of mini ticket packages including weekend plan, big game plans ranging from 6 to 10 games
    Front Page Fridays - $5 off with an Observer front page
    Seats and Treats Saturdays where purchase of any four tickets gets you 4 $5 food vouchers - you buy 4 $9 seats AND get $20 to spend on food? - not a bad deal
    Entire team autograph session at Harris Y - open to the public
    Players on the concourse signing autographs before games
    $400,000 in charitable contributions just this year
    2 for 1 ticket promotions during the playoffs last year
    Donating 200 ticket a game to "Helping Professionals" - recognizing jobs and industries who may get overlooked - teachers, educational staff, healthcare workers, Special Olympics volunteers, police, fire, emergency workers
    "Fan of the Game" honoring long-time, dedicated Hornets fans
    "Hometown Heroes" program - recognizing individuals who make a difference in our area
    not to mention the on-court stuff...
    Get rid of the "bad apples" - done
    Sign players - Mashburn, Wesley extended, starters signed for next year - done
    Instead of always being committed to winning, we win, period.
    10 years of .500 or better
    second best record in the East over the last 10 years
    Game 7 of second round
    second trip to second round this year
    One of the best coaches in the NBA
    PJ Brown - Central Division Community Award Winner.

    Bottom line....
    A good team of good players who are good people at a good price.

    I don't expect to change anyone's opinion, but I responded because you asked.

    BURCH GOES ON TO SAY:

    People told us they didn't have the time or money to come to 41 games, so we gave them four different mini-plans, including a six game option this year that featured the Kings, Lakers, Wizards, Sixers, Raptors, (the sixth team escapes me right now)

    People told us they couldn't support misbehaving players - we got rid of them

    People wanted to see roster stability - we signed our top six players for at least this year and next ( I think Lee is our only free agent this year)

    We have not increased ticket prices in four years.

    People were tired of us losing in the first round - we went to the second round.

    Unfortunately, during all this, the city council and the people of Charlotte also made some decisions that contributed to where we are today. The relocation saga overshadowed anything the organization did. Most importantly, fans chose not to support this organization - for whatever reason. They didn't buy tickets, didn't attend games they did buy tickets for, didn't watch Hornets games on TV, didn't significantly watch any NBA games on TV. So our owners sought an alternative and have appear to have found one. I'm not sure what Charlotte expected to happen.

    What happened has happened. It is what it is. You inquired so I'm responding.
    ----------------------------------------------------

    This from a member of the Hornets organization whose job it was to check the pulse of Joe Fan and incorporate what he found into the Hornet's promotions. I suddenly feel less sympathy for the Hornets fan who lives in Charlotte.
    Last edited by akshun; 04-30-2002 at 10:34 PM.
    telling it like it is -- akshun

  2. #2
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    we get the point. Why didn't they offer that in New Orleans? Maybe the arena isn't big enough!!

  3. #3
    Yeah, Shinn and Wooldridge sure sound like greedy owners who don't care about the fans.

    They could give those tickets away, and you would still see 15,000 empty seats in Charlotte.

  4. #4
    Charter Member Contributor PELICANSFAN's Avatar
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    WOW! I guess he told them. It sounds as if many of the CLT posters have short term memories. Some of those promotions sound great! I am sure we will see some of the same hospitality in N.O. from the New Orleans Hornets' marketing team. Their loss is our gain!!!!!!

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    What's interesting is that I've gone back to the charotte.com board and Burch has edited these responses out of the "Inquiring Minds" thread started by Carolina Blues. He erased them completely. I guess I copied them to this board just in time.
    Last edited by akshun; 04-30-2002 at 10:53 PM.

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    Charter Member Contributor PELICANSFAN's Avatar
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    I saw that. I cannot figure out what his answer was when asked if he was moving with the team. He may have taken down so that his emotional post did not get him in trouble with management. I think it is a GREAT post. If all that is true, they do not know how good they had it.

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    wow those are some great promotions. Im sure if we get anything near that, well be sold out, or almost to capicity for every home game. That guy simply said it like it is. he came with facts and figures. he sure put alot of charlotte fans, and most importantly the majority of those you know what posters from charlotte.com in thier place. great post!!! GO NEW ORLEANS HORNETS!!!

  8. #8
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    Mike Burch

    is the Vice President of marketing for the Hornets. I've known Mike since college and he's a terrific guy. If he follows the team to NO you guys have gotten a good one. Mike has held positions with the Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets and this is his second year with the Hornets.

  9. #9
    WOW, that was some great ticket and promotional deals in Charlotte. It makes me scratch my head even more about the whole situation. Why not support the team?

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by HORNETSFAN
    WOW! I guess he told them. It sounds as if many of the CLT posters have short term memories. Some of those promotions sound great! I am sure we will see some of the same hospitality in N.O. from the New Orleans Hornets' marketing team. Their loss is our gain!!!!!!
    He surely did tell them Steve, Man those are great promotions, I of course like the 4 $9 tickets with the $20 in free food .


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  11. #11
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    can you imagine if they would do something like that in N.O.? We have nver had anything like that for the saints, their marketing is just horrible. In fact, the only marketing the team did in 1999, was when ditka flicked the bird after he trieed to run the ball on the one yardline and did not make the TD. they the clock ran out on halftime.

    after a cheer of boos, that jerk flicked us off! I could not believe it.

  12. #12
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    NOLA Maybe...

    we'll have ticket promotions like those. I sure hope so.
    Gutentag y'all!! And, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler, Sha!!

  13. #13
    Originally posted by killah
    can you imagine if they would do something like that in N.O.? We have nver had anything like that for the saints, their marketing is just horrible. In fact, the only marketing the team did in 1999, was when ditka flicked the bird after he trieed to run the ball on the one yardline and did not make the TD. they the clock ran out on halftime.

    after a cheer of boos, that jerk flicked us off! I could not believe it.

    Maybe the Saints should hire Alex Martins to run their marketing for now on. I think they've done a horrible job of marketing the team, despite what others, including us and the NFL, told them they that what was needed.

  14. #14
    Going away.... Contributor West Coast Hornet's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Grandadmiral



    Maybe the Saints should hire Alex Martins to run their marketing for now on. I think they've done a horrible job of marketing the team, despite what others, including us and the NFL, told them they that what was needed.
    There may have been some talk about this already, but the Saints and Hornets need to double up in marketing their teams in the gulf south region, especially when it comes to ticket offices in Biloxi and Baton Rouge. It'll be interesting to see how hard the Hornets press this extended market and what kind of success they get. The Saints haven't done a particularly good job of this. Yet, I know that there are regular Saints fans living as far away as the greater Pensacola, FL area.


    Time for some football!!!

  15. #15

    Why Burch's comments were removed...

    Posted by MBurch on charlotte.com:

    I retracted my post because it just contributes to pointless arguement. Everyone has an opinion. Are we going to change now?

    It is what it is.

  16. #16
    Originally posted by West Coast Hornet


    There may have been some talk about this already, but the Saints and Hornets need to double up in marketing their teams in the gulf south region, especially when it comes to ticket offices in Biloxi and Baton Rouge. It'll be interesting to see how hard the Hornets press this extended market and what kind of success they get. The Saints haven't done a particularly good job of this. Yet, I know that there are regular Saints fans living as far away as the greater Pensacola, FL area.
    But I also think it's easy to say that the Hornets have done a helluva job in their current drive... way better than the Saints.

    Does anyone know who Martins worked for before coming to the Hornets? I remember someone saying that he was instrumental in another effort in the sports world but I can't remember what.

  17. #17
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    Re: Why Burch's comments were removed...

    Originally posted by MDB
    Posted by MBurch on charlotte.com:

    I retracted my post because it just contributes to pointless arguement. Everyone has an opinion. Are we going to change now?

    It is what it is.
    Are you Mike Burch? If so, are you moving with the team. These promotions sound great!

  18. #18
    Charter Member Contributor PELICANSFAN's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Grandadmiral


    But I also think it's easy to say that the Hornets have done a helluva job in their current drive... way better than the Saints.

    Does anyone know who Martins worked for before coming to the Hornets? I remember someone saying that he was instrumental in another effort in the sports world but I can't remember what.
    I know he was involved with the Magic in their beginning.

  19. #19
    Charter Member Southpaw's Avatar
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    He was also with the "new" Cleveland Browns when they geared up their ticket drive before the expansion team began playing.

    Sounds like he's some sort of relocation/new team specialist. But if he's not going to stick with the Hornets, but has an interest in staying with an established team (no new expansion teams coming up on the horizon in any sport), then the Saints would be smart to drop him a line and inquire about his status.
    A football game can't stop hurricanes.

    It can't fix levees.

    Or rebuild houses.

    But it can let a city know...

    That it's a city once again.

    Welcome back, New Orleans.



  20. #20
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    If I'm not mistaken, I don't think Mike Burch has gotten on the radio here (WFNZ or WBT) touting what good things the Hornets have done over the last few years since they've been here. I wish now perhaps he should've tried to do this more often. Considering that more times than not, WFNZ is where most of the 'anti Hornets/Shinnridge' crowd vent there spleen out, to hear at least another voice in support of the Hornets would've been better than hearing 1 more 'SHinnridge/Hornets suck' caller on the air. . . . .


    I mean, I always here people ***** about the ticket prices being too high, but you've got tons of $9 seats that went unsold for each game ? ? ? Who says you've got to feed the family at the game (hmmmm, I know eating at home B-E-F-O-R-E the game is a crazy idea, but perhaps more folks should've tried this sometime . Or maybe eat at some place besides the Coliseum, where folks should know by now will always be more expensive)**. The team got rid of the thugs (i.e. Derrick Coleman, but if folks read the story on him in the latest ESPN: THE MAGAZINE it shows he may not be a bad guy after all) but folks still don't come out and support the team.


    What were the Hornets suppose to do when despite doing everything possible to be more fan friendly, they still don't show up at The Hive ? ? ? Oh yeah, Shinnridge were suppose to just sell the team to Robert Johnson or Bruton Smith and get the hell out of CLT . . . . One day folk here will figure out that just because somebody offers you tons of money for something, someone is still not obligated to sell it . .
    Last edited by sds70; 05-02-2002 at 01:06 AM.
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  21. #21
    As a former season ticket holder I have no argument with the promotions at the coliseum for games. But I really don't think prices of tickets and food are the reasons the fans turned on the Hornets. It's all about the owners....and mainly George. The people feel betrayed by George Shinn and no amount of promotions at the coliseum will change that. But the one thing that could have changed everything, in my opinion, is if George had personally made an attempt to try and fix the problems. He could have gone on the radio, WFNZ and WBT, took calls from the fans, explained his side of things, maybe even apologized for what all happened over the past few years. Maybe he didn't do anything wrong, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and try to do what is necessary to soothe things over. But he never did anything like that, and in fact did the opposite, he moved to Florida to get away from the fans. George was one of us...he was originally from Kannapolis, about 25 miles from Charlotte. He grew up here, he made his fortune here, and he brought pro sports to this area. But then he stopped being fan friendly. Maybe he was hurt by all the criticism....but being in his position he needed to be above that and move on. I think he could have made this all better with some effort on his part, but he never did and now they're moving. Bringing in Woolridge instead of Michael Jordan was also a big mistake in my opinion, but that's another story. I just think the problem was much deeper than fan promotions and ticket prices.

  22. #22
    In Time Out Harvey Hornet-x's Avatar
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    It seems that the real reason the fans turned on the owners is... uh..... not sure. I thought it was the personel moves. Not true says many CLT posters. Ended up being good moves in the long run. This CLT team just may be the best ever. It was the lack of promotions. Not true says a CLT fan. They were good and the seat prices were in line. It was Shinn! Not true say some, if he would just dump Wooly we could forgive him and move forward. It was the sex scandal. Not true say others. It was the personel moves. It was how Shinn and Wooly negotiated in bad faith. If Shinn was negotiating with McCrory prior to Wooly coming on board, do you really think he was getting a fair shake? You trust what McCrory says that much? If Wooly would have not come on board! Maybe you have something there. But, if Shinn and McCrory would have worked out a deal years earlier, Wooly would not have been around. Shinn would have remained profitable and would not have needed him. Who's fault is that? Shinn tried on his own for years. Do you really believe the inability to get an arena deal done was all his fault? It was because he should have sold to MJ. Sure, sell to MJ and lose total control of your team regardless of what percentage he owns. The fans would have flocked to MJ and pushed Shinn to the background. Why do owners own? Profit and ego. Not enought room for Shinn and MJ. The day MJ becomes a part owner in the Hornets was the day Shinn was on his way out. No win situation. Would you let someone take over your business. Wooly has done that now says CLT. Answer, because Shinn is burned out and disgusted with the whole thing. Shinn gave up on CLT and did not care to handle the day to day operations as an owner any longer. Again, if CLT and Shinn reach a deal, this never happens. Why do they hate the owners? Because they are moving the team. Plain and simple. It has nothing to do with anything else. It is easier to hate them than look at CLT's part in the whole issue.
    Last edited by Harvey Hornet-x; 05-02-2002 at 11:12 AM.

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    Harvey, you are right about the owners. They own teams for the ego and profit. However, most owners do not make a profit and instead, have to be rich enough to afford loses year after year. Paul Allen, the owner of the Trailblazers and cofounder of Microsoft, is one of the richest men in the world. He has said that it is almost impossible to make money owning a sports team. That's why the best owners are also the richest (Paul Allen, Marc Cuban, Daniel Snyder, etc.) They aren't in a panic if their team looses money occasionally. It's just a tax write off to them. Ray and George aren't in that class. They're rich, just not that rich. That's why it will be interesting to see what happens if and when the guaranteed profits of the NO deal run out. IMO neither of them can afford to own a team. And no, this isn't sour grapes or me trying to flame the board. Good luck w/the team next year. BD is the man!
    It now appears to be over.

  24. #24
    In Time Out Harvey Hornet-x's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Blair
    Harvey, you are right about the owners. They own teams for the ego and profit. However, most owners do not make a profit and instead, have to be rich enough to afford loses year after year. Paul Allen, the owner of the Trailblazers and cofounder of Microsoft, is one of the richest men in the world. He has said that it is almost impossible to make money owning a sports team. That's why the best owners are also the richest (Paul Allen, Marc Cuban, Daniel Snyder, etc.) They aren't in a panic if their team looses money occasionally. It's just a tax write off to them. Ray and George aren't in that class. They're rich, just not that rich. That's why it will be interesting to see what happens if and when the guaranteed profits of the NO deal run out. IMO neither of them can afford to own a team. And no, this isn't sour grapes or me trying to flame the board. Good luck w/the team next year. BD is the man!
    I understand your point, but there are more owners like Shinn and Wooldridge than Cuban. Todays pro sports franchise owners all want to turn a profit and will craft deals to do so. Whether it be staduim deals or other concessions. The days of a franchise being a losing proposition are over. While Ray and George do not have the jack that Cuban does, neither do many others. The guys you point our are the exception to the rule.

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    Excuse me Harvey while I get back on my soap box. Another problem I see is w/players' salaries. The way that most owners pay for these salaries is to build more luxury boxes. That has been the rallying cry for owners the past ten years..."We need more luxury boxes". Sooner or later, they are going to be building arenas with nothing but luxury boxes. There will be no place for the average fan to sit. I will now step down from my luxury...er... soap box.

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