Re: [LA Times] Online Sellers See Unexpected Trend: Loyalty.

Tim Byars (
Tue, 15 Dec 1998 16:58:46 -0800

On 12/15/98 at 3:57 PM -0800, Ian Andrew Bell let the world know this:

> Tim Byars wrote:
>> This is actually the most interesting thing here. Because what we have
>> happening as the new millennium approaches is some pretty interesting
>> changes in human behavior. Things like shopping malls, amusement parks,
>> parks in general for that matter, beaches, and so on exist because of a
>> basic human need for the "shared experience." The interesting thing we see
>> happening is humans seem to have less need for the "shared experience," or
>> it could be their getting it from things like chatrooms.
> That's a good point. The flip side could also be true, though, with a
> backlash against non-shared experience. In that case, all hail the res-
> urgence of the venerable shopping mall, since that has throughout
> history
> been a comfortable place for humans to see other humans. I don't think
> that VR or the Web or whatever will kill shopping malls, but it will
> force them to redefine what exactly is their purpose.

Granted. And you see signs of that around here. Although I haven't happend
by the place the newest Mall is "The Bloc" in Santa Ana. As I understand it
it's sort of a Mall, street scene, theatre complex all rolled into one.


>> The same goes for sports. The idea of a "team sport" and win one for the
>> team is increasingly falling by the way side.
> Again, a good observation. But there's a difference between what we
> play and what we watch. X Games are not particularly highly rated and
> literally would not exist were it not for Cable TV and the cheapness
> of its programming. With the mediocre ratings they grab it's still
> profitable because the athletes work for free, etc. and sponsorship
> bucks from Billabong, RollerBlade, et al are free flowing. Hmm.. I
> may just contradict myself here.

X Games comment at the end.

>> Instead individual sports
>> like the X-Games and focus on individual players in a team sport, Michael
>> Jordon, Mark McGuire become increasingly the norm.
> Here's where my back gets up, being a Canadian. Hockey is a good
> example where it's difficult to find specific heroes. Gretzky was (is)
> about as close as they come to "individual" play, but even he gained
> most of his points from assists. Every team has a couple of super-
> stars, but if you really watch the game they don't particularly stand
> out in the same way that a Michael Jordan or McGuire will stand out.
> This contributes to my theory that hockey will never market well in the
> US because Americans like sports heroes -- which means they like team
> sports that have specialists like McGuire, a mediocre thrower at best.

Hockey will never succeed in the U.S. because they are fucking up every
time. Take the Kings. Prolly the best Hockey team ever assembled. (the team
under Coach Webster) They went to the play offs, but didn't win, what did
they do? Fire the coach, trade off the players. Same with the Ducks first
season. Same with Rangers after the cup. Etc. It's takes time to build fan
loyality. I used to be a big mark for hockey. Now I couldn't tell you the
first thing about what is going on.

> This goes back hundreds of years where Americans have vilified heroes
> in every era, whether it's George S. Patton, Martin Luther King, George
> Washington, Charles Lindbergh, etc. etc. Canada really has VERY few
> such heroes, as well as a predominantly socialist value system, which
> might to some degree explain why the metaphors of the team vs. team
> struggles in hockey are more appreciated and more marketable.

Granted we do live in a hero culture.

> A good example here is Nike. Nike bought Bauer and Cooper, two Canadian
> companies who make their bread and butter selling hockey equipment to
> people like me. Everybody thought that Nike was going to take over the
> world of hockey and that swooshes would be everywhere. If you watch
> Nike's advertising, it is extremely focused on hero culture. Look at
> their athletes: Jordan, Tiger Woods, Deion Sanders, et al -- these
> are textbook American heroes.

I'm glad you brought up Nike.

> Anyway, back to the point, team sports have never really been alive
> in the US, but as long as there's a hero to worship you will always
> have lots of people interested, out there buying authentic jerseys and
> track suits.

The first year the X-Games were on TV Nike's revenue went up something like
50%. Nike couldn't figure out what caused the increase (they didn't get the
connection) After looking over what was selling it turned out to be things
like hiking, camping, watersports, basically X related goods. Not
traditional Nike markets. People chose the Nike brand because it was such a
strong brand. It crossed over. Nike then doubled it's efforts in X related
categories and is still the dominant brand. (Overall)



Happy Holidays! And the best of New Years...

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