Pacers bulk up PR with new contract

July 16, 2007
Two public relations and advertising firms have been hired by the troubled Indiana Pacers a month after the organization brought in Jim Morris as a special adviser.

The local offices of Publicis and Optimedia, both owned by Paris-based Publicis Groupe SA, will provide advertising, strategic planning and communications services, the Pacers said today.

The contract is in addition to existing PR and advertising deals.

Tom Hirschauer, president of Publicis' Indianapolis office, said Publicis and Optimedia will try to help the Pacers reach out to the team's base and boost ticket sales.

"Basketball is ingrained in this state unlike any other industry," Hirschauer said. " It's part of the culture."

The deals come after Pacers parent Pacers Sports & Entertainment hired Morris to help President and CEO Donnie Walsh. Morris was a fixture in Indianapolis business circles before spending five years as executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme.

The Pacers have been confronted with a string of woes the past three seasons, including dwindling attendance, an ebbing record on the court and players' brushes with the law.

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