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Tailing the Komets

10 commandments for starting a new team

I thought about running this in the paper as a story sometime, but I think it works better here. These are the 10 commandments plus one I've learned from being around a minor league team for 20 years. Take this list for what it's worth. You might even want to add to it.

1. Hire a good public relations director and don't go cheap and just hire some kid right out of school. He or she will be worth the cost because they will keep your fans and media busy. In the same vein, don't expect or depend on the media to be your marketing arm. That's not their job. They don't work for you. At the same time, get the bad news when it happens out to the public as quickly as possible and move on.
2. Spend money on a good mascot. It's part of game presentation and the better the costume and athlete wearing it, the bigger the impact.
3. Ask for advice from other owners. The worst thing about minor league sports is that every owner seems to have to make the same mistakes instead of learning from the miscues of others. Rockford? Quad City? Those were stupid, stupid mistakes that anyone with any perspective could have predicted and did.
4. Run it as a business not as a hobby. It's entertainment 10 times more than it's a sporting event.
5. Don't be a jock sniffer as an owner. You can be friendly with the players but not friends. You are the boss, not just the guy who buys the beer. You are no longer a fan.
7. Let the coaches be coaches, but supervise them. No matter how much you may think you know hockey, you don't know nearly as much as someone who lives it every hour of every day and has for 20 years. You don't run the team, but by the same token, don't let them run the organization.
8. Become part of the community fabric. Everything your players and staff do off the ice is equally if not more important than what they do off the ice. Take your players to schools, then do it again and then do it again. Every year.
9. Treat season ticket holders and sponsors as owners. That means show them respect. Sponsors also have a responsibility to the team with their investment and their respect.
10. Hire good support people such as trainers and equipment managers to take care of the players. The happier the players are, the better, and that doesn't happen everywhere. And value your off-ice officials because they can make you look very good or very bad.

One extra:
11. Worry about your product, not what's going on around it with high school or college sports, NFL football, NASCAR races or whatever. There's never been a perfect schedule that didn't have some conflicts with something. It all depends on how you market the team, not what their schedule is.

Posted in: Komets


Tue, 10/13/2009 - 6:43pm

Rule #12. Never, and I mean never, enter the locker room to confront players or the coach. The locker room is their sacred place. If you enter it to scold or berate a player or coach you will undermine the authority of your coaching staff. If you are upset, call the player or coach into your office the next day to discuss the problem. Going in to the locker room is a sure way of losing your team. Here endeth the lesson.

Tue, 10/13/2009 - 7:11pm

hope they buy dennis a pillow to sit on!!

Tue, 10/13/2009 - 7:57pm

Chuckitt--I am going to pay for this, I know! But there is more than enough padding were it needs to be. I do appreciate the kind thoughts, however!!

Tue, 10/13/2009 - 8:05pm

Great list Blake, should be on the first page of the text book for Minor League Sports Ownership 101. Alan's addition is also right on.

Perhaps rule #13 should be control the league.

Anyone else see the letter in tonight's "Letters to the Editor" where the author credits the Tincap's success to an agreement with the league? He says it was good business to have a great year to make up for the mistake of moving the stadium downtown.

Reminds me of some of the things heard around the IHL about the Komets and our control of the league. With its ability to control minor league leagues no wonder Fort Wayne is the minor league capitol.... :-)

Wed, 10/14/2009 - 12:30am

Good list Blake. You'd think most of that would be common sense, but as they say, common sense isn't all that common anymore.

Wed, 10/14/2009 - 1:37am

Oh and... off topic, but can anyone please tell me off the tops of their heads whether the Halloween costume parade that the coliseum has during the Halloween night game takes place during the first or second intermission? I was thinking it was during the first last year, but I can't recall for certain.

Wed, 10/14/2009 - 2:13am

#12 Have a ROUGH-TOUGH hockey team.

Wed, 10/14/2009 - 3:30am

Wendy--Call the Komet office for the correct answer. I think it was the 1st also.

Wed, 10/14/2009 - 8:13am

I'll be dressed up like a Komet fan that night.

Five Minute Major
Wed, 10/14/2009 - 9:50am

I'm pretty sure the costume parade is the first intermission, they're doing chuck-a-puck that night too and that's almost always the second intermission. I'll be dressed up as a Komet fan too.

Wed, 10/14/2009 - 1:43pm

That's nice. But you do know that the women's version of that costume comes with a mini-skirt, garter belt and high-heeled dominatrix boots, don't you? ;)

Thanks for the info Dshebig and FMM! :)

Wed, 10/14/2009 - 2:39pm

I am going dress upo as one of those Off-Ice Officials. I may even stay for the parade just to see 5 minute major dress up the way Wendy says.

Five Minute Major
Wed, 10/14/2009 - 6:49pm

Sorry, I can't walk in high heels even on dry land, let alone on the ice. ;) And I'd freeze my you-know-what off in a mini-skirt. Hate to disappoint anyone... lol

Wed, 10/14/2009 - 9:24pm

Before I get accused of being a stereotypical woman again, whatever that is, I'll just note that I based that remark on the fact that that's how at least 90% of the Halloween costumes for women are made these days. Look it up. I guess costume manufacturer's have forgotten that it tends to be kind of cold on the 31st of October.

But hey, if FMM won't play along, I will. I have no shame. ;)

Thu, 10/15/2009 - 10:08am

number 12 on your list should be: Know how to count to 10. If you can't it will wreck havoc on your accounting system. Skipping the number 6 when counting to 10 will spell doom to your business. :)

Thu, 10/15/2009 - 10:26am

laker--Very Good! No one saw that.They only taught Blake to write not count. Maybe we can put him in the box for a counting blog foul. 2 minutes!

Blake Sebring
Thu, 10/15/2009 - 10:30am

Good, then I can take a nap.

Blueline Baby
Thu, 10/15/2009 - 7:29pm

Math and counting are not my strong suit, either, Blake. It's ok!

The parade is usually during the 1st intermission....and you'll not want to miss seeing Gene Simmons strutting across the ice, now do ya, Wendy? And Gene's lovely female fan? Oh yeah....Kiss rocks!