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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rip (Off) City

Oh, those civic-minded Trail Blazers. They invite school groups to come and perform before their games. Wonderful, right? Except that apparently, the Blazers want the schools and the kids to pay for the privilege. A reader sends along this e-mail come-on, which appears to have been written by a Blazer staffer named Mike North:

Would you like to have your group perform in front of thousands of Portland Trail Blazers fans at the Rose Garden? If so, the Trail Blazers have a couple of different opportunities for your school to perform!

Performing at the Rose Garden gives your group an unforgettable experience that is second to none and your school exposure to thousands of prospective clients! Below is information about two performance options for your school. If you would like to find out more information or get your school signed up, let me know right away as space is very limited! We will start allocating dates in mid-August after our schedule is released.

Concourse Fan Stage:

* Entertain Trail Blazers fans as they walk around the arena prior to tip-off!
* Perform in the concourse for up to 1 hour, from an hour prior to the Trail Blazers game until the National Anthem!
* Group is required to sell at least 50 tickets or reach a revenue minimum of $900.
* $100 initial payment required to be placed on priority list; group allocation process to begin the week of August 17th.

Primetime Performance:

* Dazzle fans as the Trail Blazers pre-game performance group!
* Perform a 7-minute routine on the Trail Blazers court, 30 minutes before the Trail Blazers game!
* Group is required to sell at least 150 tickets or reach a revenue minimum of $2,700.
* $200 initial payment required to be placed on priority list; group allocation process to begin the week of August 17th.

If you would like to find out more information or get your school signed up, let me know right away as space is very limited! We will start allocating dates in mid-August after our schedule is released and will be taking reservations up until that point.

Wow. And the kids' money goes to pay upstanding stars like Darius Miles. Way to go, Paul Allen.

Comments (20)


And - "...your school exposure to thousands of prospective clients!"

Clients? Huh?

Ha! Student as consumer, education as product, sport as commodity, why not student as marketing talent?

If it weren't for money you would think nothing is sacred in America!

Yeah, I second what Larry K said above. Clearly this was a standard sales piece written for corporate clients "retooled" for public schools, and exactly 0% thought went into it. I forecast a hasty "clarification" and a significant reassignment to other duties (collecting unemployment, for example) for Mr. North.

Clearly someone is more than a bit short on social skills.

why not student as marketing talent?

We already do...politicians & special interest groups have been using the phrase "for the children" for a long time now.

The use of these kids as marketeers and slaves is clearly "sustainable".

So now Paul Allen is turning into Fagin as Organ Grinder. When's he going to take his stupid ideas and knuckle-headed management and get lost?

I know, I know -- he always has been.

Next up: renaming the district "The Rose Drawn & Quartered"

I think the idea of making the kids pay to perform really stinks up the joint.

During the games I have been to, most of these groups are not from public schools, but dance schools and the like. (Some of very dubious quality, but apparently with good fundraising skills.)

Wonderful. As a long time Blazer fan I was beginning to feel good about the team the past two years. Now we're back to ground-zero.

Disgusting. Poor marketing and totally wrong. Lost my support in an instant.

Is anyone surprised at more moneygrubbing and overreaching from the guy who stiffed small vendors with the arena's bankruptcy, and who named his yacht "Octopus?" He's a garden-variety coder who got lucky when he teamed up with Gates, and his investment 'skills' have subsequently lost him billions - got to make that up somewhere. Fork over, kiddies! Next stop, Artificial Entertainmentland in place of the Coliseum!

I see that the opposite way -- Allen could read and write Assembly Language, Gates never coded nothing. Allen's the nerd (Gemini headcase), Gates is the opportunistic exploiter (Scorpio salesman). Like Wozniak and Jobs.

Anyway, neither of them wrote the OS (and then BASIC compiler) of their first sales contract ($30,000), sold to MITS in Albuquerque. They 'ported it over' (that is, copied and then illegally resold, the RTS-8 code), from the Digital (Equipment Corp) system at Harvard's computer lab. (I copied it onto diskette, too, at that same place, in that same year, but I never resold it nor represented it as my own work.)

- -
As for the Blazers group-marketing gorillas, it's not worth it to solicit schools. They'd get more takers (and fervent rabid fans) going after church groups, (which includes church-aligned schools, I suppose). ... for the same reason Jesse James (or some nefarious no-good) said he robbed banks: "that's where the money is."

So this is the Jail Blazers ownership & management's newest marketing strategy: community outreach and capacity building through child labor exploitations.

Maybe I'll apply to put together a group of smudged-up little kids tied to ropes with bundles of rags around their waists doing the "Chim-chiminey" routine from "Mary Poppins" at halftime.

Now that's entertainment! Portland Trail Blunderers.

“The Chimney Sweeper” (1789)
by William Blake (1757-1827)

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ”’weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!”
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.

There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved: so I said
“Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head’s bare
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.”

And so he was quiet, and that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight!
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black.

And by came an Angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins and set them all free;
Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run,
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.

Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind;
And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy,
He’d have God for his father, and never want joy.

And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark,
And got with our bags and our brushes to work.
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm;
So if all do their duty they need not fear harm.

Boo! And to think I almost bought a ticket last year. Wow, that was close. Now I remember why I stopped going to the games. So much less about B-Ball and so much more about the money. See ya on TV only next season.

¡Crap! Unmitigated Crap!
So much for rebuilding the image of the team and the "organization."

I'm also reminded of how the Blazers invited non-profits to staff the Rose Garden concession booths.

There would be one employed supervisor to oversee the booth and all the servers were unpaid volunteers. A portion (I'm not sure what portion) of the proceeds (net or gross?) would go to the particular non-profit group.
Of course, you had to sign-up for a number of games and make sure your staffers were trained and held the required Food Handler Certification.

To me it seemed like a slimy way to avoid paying wages and employment taxes, all the while robbing potential employees of parttime positions.

But then, what do I know? I'm not a bizzzzillionaire.


yep...another reason not to give a damn about sports, unless dropping sports team mouth-pieces, NY Soccer thugs and their participating local politician from the Fremont Bridge becomes an Olympic event.

As the reader who forwarded this e-mail to Jack, I feel compelled to correct some impressions. The Blazers pitch, as far as I can tell, is not to public schools, but to private ventures such as dance or martial arts schools.

Nevertheless, most such schools are very small businesses that really can't afford to blow $2,700 on a real iffy kind of promotion--essentially being ignored by arriving fans who are settling into their seats and getting their overpriced snacks and beverages.

The scheme is more tone deaf than nefarious. After all, the Blazers are charging the entertainers to perform. My martial arts school has performed half-time shows for the Portland State basketball team and the arrangement was that in exchange for the performance, we got passes to the game.

You've been right all along. That Henry Paulson kid really is a jerk. No "major league" team would pull this kind of crap.

Oh, wait ...

This proposal reminds me of the old adage that the value of any suggestion is inversely proportionate to the number of exclamations points used to make it.

"Charging the Entertainers to Perform" is the business model of that other very successful local industry, the strip joint, and on about the same moral plane. Come on, Kiddies - Pay for the Pole!

Tensky - 1) I said Allen was the coder, so no opposite. I don't know what all went on earlier, but when they needed the OS they'd promised IBM, I think they got it from Digital Research, which had had the chance to sell it to IBM first, but refused to show them DOS, on advice of counsel, unless IBM signed DR's confidentiality agreement, which IBM refused to do & decamped to Microsoft. Because DR had retained rights to their own OS, DR-DOS continued to be available for some years, but never posed a threat to MS-DOS. 2) You've told us several times before that you went to Harvard - we're still very impressed. 3) Nogoodnik was Willy Sutton, bank robber deluxe. PS- Does Braiterman ring a bell?


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