Instead of the normal media day in Pasadena, the conference took to the streets yesterday, visiting New York and rubbing elbows with the national media. Taking the media day to New York -- in addition to the normal media day coming Thursday -- increases the exposure of the conference in a relatively easy way. Instead of making the big name media come to us, we went to them.
As Ted Miller said yesterday, the trip to New York opened doors that are normally closed.
As I am typing this, Stewart Mandel and Andy Staples are to my left doing video for SI.com, giving their summary of the Pac-10 press conference from the W Hotel in Manhattan.
The reason I note what these two national, non-ESPN.com writers are doing is this: Both are based on the East Coast. And both would not be doing this video together (and in coats and ties!) if the Pac-10 were again holding media day on a single afternoon inside a business-traveler hotel by LAX.
The whole point of going to New York was the effort by Larry Scott to drum up some hype and national attention for the Pac-10. From all indications, it worked like a charm yesterday. Andy Staples and AP writer Ralph Russo both filed reports on the day. Larry Scott even dropped by Bloomberg Television. If the goal was to gain exposure, consider it mission accomplished. How this never happened before is beyond me.
Yesterday wasn't the end of the tour, either. This morning, Larry Scott and the conference coaches rang the bell to open NASDAQ. Now, they're in Bristol, rubbing elbows with ESPN and doing interviews on the various ESPN platforms.
The other reason for going New York stemmed from the upcoming media negotiations. Scott and the Pac-10 are working towards the next TV contract by forging positive relationships with the major media entities. A cocktail hour with television executives followed the W Hotel meeting, allowing the coaches and executives in attendance to rub elbows.
Everything done yesterday was about selling the new brand of the Pac-10. The new logo was unveiled to journalists, a promotional video was played on the big screen in Times Square, and the new website was launched. The Pac-10 is embracing branding and creating a marketable brand in the process.
For a summary of the day, read on after the jump.
I want to start by highlighting what SBNation did yesterday. We have a ton of talented writers on the network and two of them were in attendance.
Paragon SC -- from the great USC SBNation blog Conquest Chronicles -- lives in New York and made his way down to the W Hotel to take in the festivities.
Scott plans to tell the Pac-10's story in a different way. He stated that the Pac-10 would go on to be the Pac-12 when Colorado and Utah are added next year. His view is all about brand and tradition. He plans to have a new energy, a new focus an plans to market the franchise more aggressively and in a new dynamic way. Scott played up the Pac-10's "tremendous academic achievement and athletic heritage".
Everything from Paragon's notes is encouraging. From the way the room was set up (5 tables with rival coaches at each) to the presentation all shined a good light on the new Pac-10. Go give his piece a read, it's well worth it.
Over at California Golden Blogs -- another fantastic SBN site -- one of their writers also wound up at the W Hotel yesterday. He even snagged a quick word with Paul Wulff.
What's the message to recruits? What can you push to them?: Tradition. The Cougars have been to the Rose Bowl twice in the past twelve years, and each of the other times it's been Oregon or USC. No one else has been to the Rose Bowl. So the program has been there and been great, and it wasn't all that long ago. Another thing is the opportunity to play and be an integral part of the team when it does turn around. So it's about opportunity, if players are willing to seize it.
The write-up at CGB is also well worth the read. Yellow Fever -- their writer covering it -- interviewed a few of the coaches there and has a great take on the media day.
The SBN writers that showed up all did a fantastic job and really brought a nice perspective to it all.
For more on the marketing and branding, we go to the LA Times.
"Sometimes on the West Coast we have a West Coast attitude that things are great out here and if the rest of the country wants to learn about us, they can come have a look," said Michael Mokwa, a marketing professor at Arizona State. "It's a matter of being aggressive, or the alternative, being complacent."
There is no doubt the Pac-10 fell into the complacent mold until Larry Scott showed up. The conference became little more than a regional entity, even with USC in the national picture every year. The news that the conference did utilize network mirroring on ESPN/ABC yesterday -- and Larry Scott's subsequent quick move to change that -- should hammer this point home. In order to move forward as a conference, the Pac-10 needs to go national.
Yesterday was the first step towards national relevancy for the Pac-10. We have great athletics in this conference, but are still forgotten in the national media. While we can't move the West coast to the east, we can take our brand to the national media's doorstep with events like this week.