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Alison with the Director of the Arizona Cardinals, Tim Delaney

Alison with the Director of the Arizona Cardinals, Tim Delaney

If you have lived in Arizona during the past 10-15 years, you’ve seen the sports landscape change dramatically.

The Highs

The Lows

So, as we move into a new year (albeit it is “mid-year” for many of the above brands), let’s put ourselves into the marketing communications departments’ shoes of the above five sports entities – what are their brand identities as we move into 2014? What are their challenges? What are their opportunities?

Our two cents:

  • Scott on Dbacks’ brand: Brand development and identity for professional sports teams can be generational.  There are now adults in Phoenix who have been life-long D-Backs fans.  While we are not close to seeing the brand loyalty you see with teams like the Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs, we are one generational step in the right direction.
  • Katie on Suns’ brand: As a basketball fan, I think the Suns are still trying to figure out who they are as a team. After a terrible 2012-2013 season and poor trading decisions, I think it’s safe to say fans were a little confused and skeptical about the direction the team was going. However, under the new leadership of GM Ryan McDonough and head coach Jeff Hornacek, fans seem to have found some sense of hope in the team. While it’s clear the Suns are obviously in rebuilding mode, they seem to be moving in the right direction, acquiring young talent at nearly every position. While the team seems to be doing surprisingly well with its current roster, my hope (and every other Suns fan) is that the Suns make more moves before the trade deadline in February to either make them an actual contender in the Western Conference or put them in a position to get a decent draft pick.
  • Alison on Cards’ brand: With the exception of, perhaps, the Phoenix Suns (since they have been a Phoenix brand for so long), the Arizona Cardinals’ brand has been that of “Bandwagoners” for most of my life. When they’re good, Arizona is electric in its support. When they’re bad, we all say the same thing – SAME OLD CARDINALS. I would love to see a long-term, utterly outrageous branding campaign by the team focused on the “Bandwagon” supporters, poking fun at themselves and all of us. Perhaps if we can all laugh together with this brand (rather than at it as has happened so often), then we can finally get behind them no matter their record, as in so many other parts of this Sports Nation. 
  • Kelly on Coyotes’ brand: While their playoff run was great, and showed that most Arizona teams can make a playoff run or two, it was still way overshadowed by their management woes. Everything that came out about their playoff games was, “This is a great run for a team that may not be staying.” I think their challenge, and opportunity, for 2014 is trying to regain that identity. Since they are staying in Glendale for the near future, with new ownership – it’s their time to show they are a good team, and leave behind the drama of 2013!
  • Abbie on Sun Devils’ brand: ASU athletics got a huge boost this season with Todd Graham’s winning coaching style and the Sun Devils making an impressive “run for the Roses” during its 2013 football season.  Playing for its 11th win of the season at this year’s Holiday Bowl, the Devils are poised to enter into the new year with a renewed enthusiasm and a supportive fan base.   Our women’s basketball team’s coach just scored her 350th career win, men’s basketball has one of the best point guards in the country in Jahii Carson and our other teams are doing equally as well. ASU should capitalize on its wins, energizing its fan base, students and alumni to get behind and stick with it.  #GoDevils!
  • Rachel: Arizona has sports teams?  Wake me up if we start talking tennis!

So, there’s our “12 cents” – what say you on Arizona’s major sports brands? 

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

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