Pacers launch new outreach effort

May 12, 2008
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herbsimonThe Indiana Pacers are hitting the streets of central Indiana in an attempt to reach out to the local corporate community. Pacers officials are also considering hosting a draft-day party to help reconnect with the team’s larger audience.

Last week, Pacers co-owner Herb Simon, team president Jim Morris and vice president of corporate relations Greg Schenkel stepped out to meet with a few corporate higher-ups, including a visit to the Indianapolis Business Journal to meet with publisher Chris Katterjohn and members of the editorial staff.

It’s a rare move headed by a behind-the-scenes co-owner, who has taken a hands-on approach and the title of CEO and chairman since the departure of former Pacers president Donnie Walsh last month.

Sources close to the team said sponsors have been impressed with the effort, especially by Simon. The Pacers are in a critical off-season period of trying to renew season tickets and suite leases.

At the IBJ offices last week, Simon explained that it is time for him to get out front to explain plans for bringing the Pacers back to their winning ways. Simon said since taking his new hands-on role, he has been re-energized, and vowed not only to make the team a winner but turn it into one “the community can be proud of.”

Simon and Morris were just as eager to trumpet the virtues of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.

“This is one of the best teams in the WNBA and has a chance to bring this community a championship. We have to find a way to let more people know about this team,” Simon said. “I think this team is a real asset to this community.”

If the Pacers go forward with plans for a draft-day party open to the public, it would be the first time the team has hosted such an event since 1993. While Pacers spokesman David Benner said plans for the party are not yet finalized, sources close to the team said Pacers officials are merely waiting until after May 20, when it will be determined in what order the Pacers will draft.

The Pacers could get either one of the first three picks, or could select somewhere from the No. 11 to No. 14 position. The higher the Pacers pick in the June 26 draft, sources said, the more likely there will be a draft party, which no doubt will be a marketing tool used to pitch sales for full and partial season-ticket packages.
  • The proactive stance Herb Simon and Jim Morris are taking to re-energize the Pacers for the next season is heartening. A high draft choice and a new look approach at how the Pacers connect with the community will, in this writer's opinion, bring benefits to the team.

    Meanwhile....The Fever have, in my opinion, the best team they have ever had, and will be a leading contender towards the 2008 WNBA Championship. High profile players such as Tamika Catchings and newly acquired Katie Douglas should prove to provide a fun time for Hoosiers to watch this summer, as well as a very competitive team.

    Congrats to the Pacer organization.
  • It is great that the Pacers are trying to reach out to their fans. I do find it curious that Simon and Morris both touted the virtues of the Fever. I am a librarian at a public library in a county surrounding Indianapolis. As a Summer Reading Prize the library asked for a donation of four sets of ticket vouchers for Fever tickets (not like these games are selling out). It was a win for the library and Fever. I heard nothing from the Fever/Pacers people - not even a sorry not interested. On the other hand the Indians graciously donated ticket vouchers as a Summer Reading Prize. The organization is interested in connecting with their higher paying audience - those who will shell out the money to buy season tickets and lease corporate suites.

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  1. Only half a million TV Viewers? And thats an increase? I knew Indycar was struggling but I didn't know it was that bad. Hell, if NASCAR hits 5 Million viewers everyone starts freaking out saying its going down hill. It has a long way to before Indycar even hits NASCAR's bad days.

  2. IU has been talking that line for years with no real progress even with the last Dean, Dr. Brater. Why will an outsider, Dr. Hess, make a difference? With no proof of additional resources (cash in the bank), and a concrete plan to move an academic model that has been outdated for decades with a faculty complacent with tenure and inertia, I can count on IU to remain the same during the tenure of Dr. Hess. One ought to look to Purdue and Notre Dame for change and innovation. It is just too bad that both of those schools do not have their own medical school. Competition might wake up IU. My guess is, that even with those additions to our State, IU will remain in its own little world squandering our State's tax dollars. Why would any donor want to contribute to IU with its track record? What is its strategy to deal with the physician shortage for our State? New leadership will not be enough for us to expect any change.

  3. How do you think the Bridges got approved? I spent a couple days researching PAC's and individual contributions to some city council members during that time. My printouts were inches thick on the two I concentrated on. Finally gave up. Was disgusted with all the donations, and who they were from. Would have taken me days and days to compile a complete list. Tried to give it to the Star reporter, but he thought it was all just fine. (and apparently he was treated well himself) He ended up being laid off or fired though. And then of course, there was land donated to the dad's club, or city, as a partial payoff. All done in the shining example of "charity." No, none of these contributions are a coincidence.

  4. I agree what kind of help or if any will be there for Dr. Ley's patients. I was a patient myself.

  5. What about the hundreds of patients who sought this doctor for the right reasons, to quit drugs. what option do these patients now have, experience horrible withdrawl or return to heroin?? those are the choices. what about the children of these former addicts who's parent(s) WILL not b able to maintain their job, for @ least 2 weeks.. There needs to b an emergency clinic opened for these patients.