Always Be Communicating

The NBA is clearly going through a rough period because of the lockout, and with every passing day, more damage is being done between the league and its fans. However, even when an organization has to deal with something as stressful and problematic as a work stoppage, teams must continue to communicate to their fans, keeping them abreast of the situation and offering up as much damage control as possible.

I’m signed up for several team email lists, and I have to say, I’ve been most impressed by the Lakers messages over the past few weeks. Here are a few snippets to show how they’ve stayed in touch with their fans in an honest and direct manner. Each of these messages was “signed” from Tim Harris, Senior Vice President, Operations/CMO.

September 23:

We appreciate your continued patience as the NBA and the NBA Players Association negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. Since no such agreement has been reached at this time, the league has postponed player training camps and cancelled preseason games scheduled through October 15th.

Please know that you are a vital part of the Lakers, and we value your support.

We want to assure you that the league’s efforts are focused on reaching an agreement that benefits all parties involved. The NBA’s goal is to secure a sustainable business model that enables all 30 teams to compete for a championship, fairly compensates players, and ensures a world-class experience for our fans.

We recognize that without our fans, there would be no NBA. Your passion for the game is what motivates us, and we do not take your support for granted. The league will continue to work toward a new collective bargaining agreement so that we can get back to enjoying the excitement of NBA basketball.

Thank you again for your support and your continued loyalty to the Lakers.

October 4:

We appreciate your patience as the NBA and the NBA Players Association negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. Since an agreement has not been reached at this time, the league has canceled all preseason games.

The league will continue to work toward a new collective bargaining agreement so that we can get back to enjoying the excitement of NBA basketball.

Lakers fans are the passion that drives the team and we appreciate your support and your continued loyalty to the Lakers.

October 12:

We’re sorry to share that the NBA and the NBA Players Association have yet to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. Unfortunately this means the league has had to cancel all regular season games scheduled through November 14th.

Rest assured both sides are working hard to get a deal done so that we can get back to what we all want most, the excitement of NBA basketball. In the meantime, we’ll continue to keep you informed with updates as they become available.

We share your frustration and sincerely appreciate both your support and continued loyalty to the Lakers.

There’s really no way to sugar coat the labor situation that the NBA is going through, so I think the Lakers’ sincere approach and expression of gratitude is a very effective way to communicate to their fans as the lockout moves along. Sending out bad news can be quite challenging from a marketing and PR perspective, but its much better to take this approach than to ignore the situation and not say anything.

5 thoughts on “Always Be Communicating

  • October 13, 2011 at 11:25 am
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    I couldn’t agree more. I went through the NHL lockout of 04-05 and learned the hard way. You have to constantly be in communication with your fans, your ticket holders and your corporate partners. In this situation, the only thing worse than bad news is no news at all.

  • October 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm
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    I also agree you have to be in communication with your fans, but the way it is looking now there is probably not going to be an NBA season this year

  • November 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm
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    It’s great that someone is taking a break from talking about the actual lockout to discuss the communication behind it. I agree that the Lakers organizations is doing a good job communicating its frustration, but I wonder if they could be even more specific. As a fan the language is so vague it still leaves me with tons of questions. Thanks for the post.

  • December 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm
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    Thank God the NBA lockout is over so fans have something to hear about, other than grumpy old David Stern. I was very disappointed with the lack of communication between NBA organizations and their fans. I’m a huge Trail Blazer fan and all they’ve done in the off season is keep quiet. Do they really think that encourages their fans to purchase season tickets or team merchandise? I sure hope not.

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