Jazz president Randy Rigby discusses the marketing potential of former Brigham Young guard Jimmer Fredette.
The potential of adding an NBA player with a regional connection: There's no question that if the talent pick matches up with the local appeal of an athlete, you have an immediate marketing lift to help you. Particularly, we've always wanted to see a little more support from Utah County. With the phenomenon of Jimmer — what's interesting is, I've had so many people from the University of Utah and BYU people, Jimmer has just really gained the respect and intrigue across almost all universities in the state, and he's become kind of a favorite athlete for a lot of people in the state of Utah. And so that interest, no question, would have some direct correlation and benefit for us from a revenue and sales and support from the fanbase.
Talent ultimately outweighs the potential for a revenue bump: No question. Every time. We make every decision about the ability for this player to improve and make our team better. Because we have to look at everything on a long-term basis and what it can mean for us in the long term, and winning will help us with the long term. That's exactly how we have to look at it. And, particularly, when you look at our dollar — our revenue structure — you say, 'Hey. This could give us an immediate $5 million lift.' That sounds really good for our ticket sales. But when you put that $5 million in the total mix of our total revenue — and by the way, [$5 million] isn't the number; I'm just throwing a number out — when you look at what that means in the total dollars we generate each year, let alone then compounding that by three to five years, it makes it a much smaller percentage. So that's why we have to put that in perspective.
Hard to pass up instant marketability: I'll tell you how we look at it. I don't think we as an organization get off too much on trying to take one player … I think you want to be very careful not to overpromote a young athlete. In particular, you're bringing them into the NBA, and you've got the best of the best here. And a young rookie has some real challenges breaking into this league. To put that kind of pressure and to build your marketing and your philosophy and your organization around an athlete like that can become very problematic real fast if all of a sudden with an injury or a failure to immediately come out and perform — those images can be short lived, and now you've compounded your problem. That's why we have always as an organization built on the philosophy — here's the philosophy of the characteristics that we expect from all of our players: hardworking, teamwork, that you put it all out on the floor each and every night and that you give us your best.
Brian T. Smith