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Knicks Bring In Translation Agency to Craft New Image

New York KnicksThe New York Knicks have brought in Steve Stoute and the Translation agency to craft an updated image for the team and increase fan engagement with the NBA flagship franchise.

Translation has worked with a wide variety of clients, including the crosstown Brooklyn Nets, Anheuser-Busch, State Farm, Lady Gaga and Jay-Z.

That the Knicks need a little help is obvious: the team isn’t selling out Madison Square Garden and the on-court product is certainly lacking. What Stoute and Translation will do, absent a total makeover of the team, is use analytics and research to drive fan engagement. From Bloomberg:

“We have a ways to go,” Stoute said in an interview. “People can say what they want, but the world knows when you get it right — when the New York team is winning — basketball is better. When the New York Knicks are right, the NBA is a better place. That is the opportunity.”

Translation said it will utilize data and analytics — along with the team’s history, alumni, fans and iconic arena — to develop campaigns aimed at bolstering the brand. Stoute also will work to support the club’s executive team, including Dolan, in its branding and fan-engagement efforts….

The sports idiom is that winning cures all ills. Stoute said that isn’t true, and that there’s a better formula.

“Winning cures a lot of problems. Great marketing and exciting entertainment cure all problems,” he said. “The brand has to be strong regardless of the final score. When people are hopeful that things are going to be better, and it brings excitement, all of a sudden that becomes the brand.”

In general, that’s probably true. But the Knicks pose some special business challenges on a marketing level. James Dolan is not exactly the most popular owner in New York City now, but one thing he has done is create a great venue in a renovated Madison Square Garden. And how do you convince people that things are going to be better? You enter rebuilding mode, and that’s what the Knicks have been in since the 2013-2014 season; the 2012-2013 team, led by Carmelo Anthony and Jason Kidd, was the last Knicks squad to made the playoffs. The current Knicks lack star power as well–and stars certainly matter when it comes to marketing a NYC team. Yes, winning does cure all ills, especially in the New York City sports marketplace.

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