Each year I marvel at the concept of the Reds Caravan. The Reds are not the only MLB team to do a caravan, but I don't think fans appreciate the planning, commitment, and cooperation required to pull it off each year. We are talking about three buses, traveling four days, making 15 stops, covering four states and 2,800 miles. It's the dead of winter and we are just 19 days from players reporting to Spring Training. Those players will soon be away from home for the next eight months. Players were just in town last month for RedsFest. Yet, current and former players, broadcasters and members of the the Reds front office gathered in Cincinnati today. Bob Castellini, the owner of the franchise, got on a bus. Walt Jocketty, the general manager got on a bus. All-Stars like Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce got on a bus. Joe Morgan, a Hall of Fame player, got on a bus. Why?, to make an investment in the fan base, to spread Reds talk and grow the fan base.
The Reds go to the fans, fan don't have to come to the Reds. It's a chance for the Reds to reach out, shake hands, sign autographs, take pictures and promote Reds baseball. It's all about connecting to and creating goodwill with the fan base. The caravan makes stops at 20 different Reds radio affiliates. Consider the TV/radio airtime, and newspaper, website and blog space devoted to Reds baseball over the next four days. You can't put a price on the promotional value of the caravan.
I don't like pitting one franchise against another, and there is no question the Bengals have come along way in the last couple of years, but I believe the Bengals miss a huge marketing opportunity by not doing something similar. The Bengals have brought camp to PBS, created a camp kickoff event, lowered ticket prices and produced on the field with back to back playoff appearances for the first time since 1981-92. But they could do so much more. Consider the potential of a Bengals Who Dey Caravan. It would be a chance to create goodwill with a fragmented fan base. The caravan could lead into the start of training camp each year. Imagine current and former Bengals players/coaches, front office people, broadcasters and cheerleaders boarding buses to travel the tri-state. The Bengals have radio affiliates in 26 different cities: 19 in Ohio, 4 Kentucky, 2 West Virginia, 1 Indiana. They could hit each city on the caravan. Imagine stops like these:
Dayton and Columbus: Mike Brown, Dave Lapham, AJ Green, and Andrew Whitworth. Lexington and Louisville: Andy Dalton, Ken Anderson, Doug Pelfrey and Ickey Woods.
Ashland, KY and Huntington, WV: Anthony Munoz, Cris Collinsworth, Mike Zimmer, and Carlos Dunlap.
Consider all the former players that already live in the Greater Cincinnati area, from Mike Martin and Louis Breeden to Isaac Curtis, Jim Breech, Eric Thomas, David Fulcher, Doug Pelfrey, Joe Walter, Max Montoya and Bruce Kozerski. What a way to connect to fans and expand a fan base. As I always say, what's the downside? I checked out some other NFL teams that have a caravan:
Colts Tailgate Tour
The inaugural 2012 Colts Tailgate Tour will travel around the state of Indiana throughout June and July and feature Colts players and cheerleaders.
Broncos Cross Country Tour
Broncos Country Caravan is an opportunity for fans in communities outside of the Denver Metro area to engage and connect with the Broncos through events that include: local hospital visits, autograph sessions with a Broncos Alumni, Cheerleaders and Miles the Mascot, as well as a celebration that declares each city an official member of Broncos Country.
The Jaguars Caravan will put players, coaches, ROAR cheerleaders and other special guests in the travelling Jaguars RV which will stop in seven cities to engage with the team’s regional fans.
“We know that a lot of Jaguars fans live beyond our five-county area, so this is an effort to bring our ‘All In’ message to them,” said Mark Lamping, president of the Jaguars. “We’re working hard to build and expand our fan base, and we want these fans to have the opportunity to meet some of the players they root for on Sundays. The caravans should be a lot of fun and we hope to see a great turnout in each city.
The Tennessee Titans, along with the incredible support of our partners at Titans Radio, conduct an annual Caravan that travels throughout Tennessee, southern Kentucky and northern Alabama. We have visited nearly 400 cities in five states and made over 450 total stops. We've traveled nearly 35,000 total miles and taken thousands of pictures.
I counted 62 Division-I college basketball games last night.
Here is the breakdown of points scored:
30's: 1 team (Cal State Bakersfield, 36 points)
40's: 10 teams
50's: 28 teams
60's: 47 teams
70's: 22 teams
80's: 5 teams (2 reach in overtime)
90's: 10 teams (4 reached in overtime, 2 of them in Double OT)
100+: 1 team
39 teams (31%) failed to top 59 points
86 teams (69%) failed to top 69 points
6:05, Sports Talk
Rick Minter, new Philadelphia Eagles assistant
Reds, Bengals, college hoops
Hamilton to start year at Triple-A
Reds top prospect Billy Hamilton will start the year at Triple-A Louisville and play every day in center field, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said Thursday.
Reds ready to reap All-Star game benefits
Richard Justice, MLB.com
It's not just a game. That's one of the first things the good folks of Cincinnati will discover as they prepare to host the 86th All-Star Game in 2015. It was a game all those other times, most recently in 1988, when Riverfront Stadium last hosted the event. Even then, it was still a great showcase for baseball, a chance to see most of the best players gathered in one place.
Let's pause to understand what we mean about the All-Star Game being an astonishing collection of talent. Even with most games on television and even with Interleague Play now the norm, the All-Star Game is unique, and for those of us who love the game, an amazing once-a-season gathering of talent.
Reds 2013 Caravan
The 2013 Reds Caravan, presented by Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network, kicks off Thursday, Jan. 24 and is scheduled to make 15 fan stops in four states covering more than 2,800 miles over four days.
The Caravan consists of three separate tours traveling simultaneously through Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia and provides fans with the opportunity to interact with current and former players, broadcasters and members of the Reds front office staff. At each fan stop, the group will field questions from fans and sign autographs while time allows.
Offense isn't name of game in college basketball
Teams were averaging 68 points per game at the start of this week, the same as last season, according to STATS LLC. That's the lowest since the average was 67.6 in 1982, according to the NCAA, and about 10 points a game less than the record scoring era of the early 1970s when, interestingly, there was no shot clock. This season's .433 field-goal percentage is the worst since the .431 in 1965.
Accuracy from beyond the arc is down to .339, lowest since the 3-pointer came into the college game in 1986-87. What's with all the bricks?
With low scoring, college ball just isn't as fun to watch
The scoring drought in college basketball looks very bad on paper.
It looks even worse on television.
Sometimes I imagine ESPN's GameDay staff - Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas, Jalen Rose and Co. - coming on the air from inside a cemetery. In the background is a gravestone. The camera zooms in on an inscription that reads: "The Fast Break. R.I.P."
Xavier: Shannon Russell on Xavier's loss at Charlotte
Miami's Shane Larkin is 1st player with 18+ points, 10+ rebounds, 5+ assists in win vs No. 1 team since Dwyane Wade in 2003 regional final vs Kentucky/@ESPNStatsInfo)
Wall Street Journal: Kentucky may be fried
Can Huggins get WVU back on track?
Mike DeCourcy, The Sporting News
Too many chances were taken on transfers who’d been problematic at previous stops and not enough talented recruits have arrived as freshmen. When Huggins was at his absolute best at Cincinnati, he had ace recruiters such as Steve Moeller and Mick Cronin to “set the table” for him. His 2010 Final Four team at West Virginia took the leftover players from John Beilein’s regime and added in a few others, such as Devin Ebanks. ***
Game of 21
Geoff Hobson, Bengals.com
Alexander isn't going to show his cards, but Rang says he could see the Bengals swooping in for a tackle or a defensive end at No. 21 in a draft rich with both. But to show how the Bengals have people a bit off balance at this spot, Rang and Todd McShay of ESPN mock the Bengals for Georgia inside linebacker Alec Ogletree.
McShay says he does it because there is no one worthy of the pick for Cincinnati's most pressing needs of running back, safety, wide receiver and right tackle. Rang has his fourth and last tackle of the first round, Alabama's D.J. Fluker, going 26th.
OSU: Getting into The She will likely cost more
Mark Wilson (6'3/220) is a defensive end from Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va. He is committed to play college football for the Cincinnati Bearcats.