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Marketing The Falcons

Please note that I've put up a poll in Hamburger's fanpost about Matt Ryan's new nickname. If you don't like the choices, suggest away!

I found Tim Tucker's latest article in the AJC particularly enlightening. While we're all quite familiar with the on the field exploits of this team, the marketing and public relations piece tends to remain murky. Many of us even suspected the selection of Matt Ryan had something to do with Arthur Blank's love of a good PR move.

If that's true, though, the Falcons are set to do a spectacularly bad job utilizing him:

But the person drafted last weekend to succeed Michael Vick on the field will not replace the imprisoned quarterback as the marketing face of the franchise — at least not now.

"I don't think we're going to sit there and try to harp on one player," said Falcons president Rich McKay, who oversees the team's business operations. "It doesn't mean [Ryan] won't have some appearances or that you won't see him in the community, but I don't think he'll be the focus of our campaign."

Huh. And here I thought we drafted the guy as a new face of the franchise. You're right, though. We should probably put Stephen Nicholas on the cover of the media guide. Who doesn't love Stevie Nickels?

The rest of the article talks about marketing the increasingly empty seats in the Georgia Dome for lower prices and an ad campaign that will encourage everyone to think of this as a fresh start for the franchise.

I guess my major concern with this approach (especially the frightening "Screamers wanted" billboards) is that these kinds of strategies usually work best on casual fans or people who just like to go to a football game for the sake of going to a football game. The Falcons really need to attract new fans, the kind that will actually stick with this team through the bad times instead of abandoning the Georgia Dome in droves as soon as something goes wrong. We already don't have a great rep as a fanbase, and I certainly don't want the team to fill the seats with people who don't really give a crap about the Falcons and respond to every damn instruction that pops up over the big screen.

I think the smartest move--and here again, it's not like anybody's going to listen to me--would be to let Ryan spearhead a marketing campaign backed up by Roddy, Boley, Turner and Abraham where the team appeals to fans with the promise of a brighter tomorrow. They don't have to promise a Super Bowl this year, but some strides in the right direction couldn't hurt.