Ravens Make Costly Blunder?

Lombardi's Way Ravens Make Costly Blunder?

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The NFL is big business. They are all about creating desirable content for Americans to consume in both traditional and cutting edge ways. Content is king and if it’s delivered properly revenue streams of all types flow into the league’s coffers.

If you build it, they will come and clearly the NFL is a developer like no other in our country. And if they have it their way the NFL will conquer the world as well.

The league’s teams also have their own objectives when it comes to establishing and growing their individual brands and markets, each looking to scale the walls of the geography that can limit them and make their team more desirable to parts of the country that aren’t married to a particular team.

The Baltimore Ravens are no different but their organizational challenges come with slipperier slopes given the franchise’s relative youthfulness and the borders that land lock their potential growth. With the Steelers to the west, the Eagles to the north, the Redskins to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, widening their fan base isn’t easy.

Making matters worse there remains an inexplicable loyalty amongst some NFL fans in Baltimore, to teams that they adopted as theirs when the Baltimore Colts left town in the dead of night back in the spring of 1984.

Growth targets, on local and regional levels, don’t end for the Ravens with just ambitions to expand their fan base. They also aim to grow their bottom line through ticket sales, corporate suites, events, merchandise and of course advertising on their TV programs, in-stadium and on the team’s official website.

This explains why the team has cracked down on tailgating parties around the stadium, forbidding live entertainment and large groups that believed they were conforming to tailgating and licensing rules and regulations.

It also explains why the Ravens view RussellStreetReport.com as competitors – it is at least in part why we were forced to change our name from Ravens24x7.com.

And just as we do at RSR, the Ravens sales staff is continually looking to find new customers who can benefit from their reach and the audience they attract.

But as a business owner, there are boundaries that we adhere to for the benefit of our current customers. With no intended disrespect to these establishments, we don’t entertain doing businesses with bail bond companies and gentlemen’s clubs despite the interest to do so on their end, because we believe doing so is a potential disservice to our current customers.

It’s difficult to decline business but sometimes it’s the prudent thing to do. The old cliché, “Penny wise and pound foolish” comes to mind for those who might cave into the temptation to accept unconventional revenue streams.

Apparently the Baltimore Ravens have caved in to such temptations.

According to the Washington Examiner, despite the league’s refusal to promote Obamacare, the Ravens have accepted a $130,000 contract to do exactly that. The contract calls for the Ravens to market Obamacare vis-à-vis an ad program with the State of Maryland’s Obamacare exchange known as Maryland Health Connection. The Ravens will use their TV, radio, web and social media platforms to deliver the exchange’s message.

Here’s the Ravens’ official press release on the topic:

“We have a sponsorship/advertising agreement with the Maryland Health Connection, a Maryland state agency charged with creating a health insurance marketplace in Maryland. Under its agreement with the Ravens, Maryland Health Connection will have radio ads during our game broadcasts and other Ravens-related radio and television shows, plus have exposure on Raven digital media properties and some stadium signage for two games. The advertising package with the Maryland Heath Connection is comparable to many other sponsorship agreements the Ravens have sold, including ones with the Maryland Lottery and the Maryland National Guard, as well as corporations like Giant Foods and Verizon.”

Fans are not responding well. They look to the Ravens and the NFL as an escape from the daily pressures of life – one of which happens to be a very controversial program, Obamacare. Now for $130,000 the Ravens are waving what is for many an unpleasant reminder of an unpopular program that many believe is being jammed down their throats.

For $130,000 the Ravens may have jeopardized the loyalty of the fans. They’ve also made it more challenging to expand their reach beyond the boundaries that loosely bind them.

Here are a couple of posts from our Facebook page after a post that had NOTHING to do with the topic, yet fans felt compelled to vent their frustrations.


  • After Ravens agreed to take taxpayer money from Obama to promote his train wreck insurance- I am now a woman without a team. How sad. And how despicable for my sports outlet to get political. Shameful! ~ Daniella Ceccarelli Toomey
  • No likes from me..not after they are getting paid with our tax dollars to support Obamacare…I may have to start watching the Steelers. ~ Sandy Rutkowski Comegys
(Unfortunately for Sandy, the Steelers have come forward to support Obamacare in their own way, hosting a workshop at Heinz Field for folks to sign up.)

There will undoubtedly be more backlash from what the Ravens hope will ultimately be the vocal minority. Winning may also help to mask this temporary lapse of reasoning.

But if they continue with their losing ways this season and if the citizens grow more disenchanted with Obamacare, this might prove to be one of the worst ad campaigns the Ravens have ever accepted.

And that’s a shame for a Super Bowl Champion that started to scale that slippery slope.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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