Do you find Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting innovative? If you are from the beloved City of Champions, you probably just rolled your eyes and clicked onto something else after reading that sentence. But don’t let the man from West Virginia fool you.
He’s building the monetary value of his Pittsburgh Pirates, which if you are fan of the team, should be valuable to you as well. However, the guy has a big time image problem. Especially with all of those losses piling up around him as the franchise is brought back from near extinction.
It probably didn’t sound cool you when we wrote ‘he is building the monetary value of his team.’ How did you react? Isn’t that the goal of any business owner? Then why do fans feel stung a little bit when reading that sentence. Every team wants to build their brand. Their empire. But teams typically achieve those goals and have fan support. The Steelers cut Willie Parker loose and public lynchings aren’t demanded. The Pirates trade Nate McLouth and the fan base revolts. Why?
Nutting hasn’t engendered your trust. Think about it. Trust is a huge factor in the team’s perception. We can’t do much about the lack of trust, but we will suggest some image building ideas later in the post. We trust you enjoy it.
We were in DC yesterday when it hit us. It took a kid from Pittsburgh, LaVar Arrington, to put it all together for us on his radio show. He was talking about the new image that Redskins owner Dan Snyder (ahem, Mr. Snyder) is trying to create in the Greater Washington area.
Then he wrote about it in his blog today. It’s the talk of DC.
We heard Bob Nutting was the talk of Pittsburgh yesterday as fans reacted to the Pirates firing of John Russell. I’m glad I wasn’t around to hear it.
We were curious if Bob Nutting will ever attempt to change his image. Surely it wouldn’t hurt would it?
We think Nutting should fire back at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. He should respond to their numerous outrageous claims. Start a public feud. Just like Snyder has with the Washington Post. Frankly, I like the fact that Snyder doesn’t roll over on the mega DC paper.
Why doesn’t Nutting?
Rather than shoot back, Nutting ignores it. And it negatively impacts his image. His leadership team just keeps playing silly games with some of their antics. We say roll up your sleeves Bob Nutting. What the hell could it hurt? It’s not like Nutting is suing people for backing out of season tickets due to the economic downturn like Snyder did.
Nutting is the exact opposite, the Pirates have some of the most innovative ticket sales concepts in the game. Try these on for size: an advance deposit of $100 for a 2011 season ticket earned the ability to get all of the remaining 2010 game tickets complimentary. The Bucs also had ticket insurance that allowed fans to exchange tickets if they couldn’t make the game.
The critisicm doesn’t add up, because what Nutting does is this: he trusts the people he hires. He remains out of the inner workings of the day-to-day operations. Does he set the budget? Absolutely. And that can handcuff most GM’s. But when former GM Littlefield wanted to sign a free agent, Nutting trusted him. It was definently not a good idea. But now in DC, Snyder is said to also be trying to remain out of the day-to-day operations with the Skins. It will be interesting to see who makes the playoffs first. It’s been a while since the Hogs have been in the postseason. We don’t need to remind you the last time the Bucs saw playoff action.
A feud with the PG makes sense to us, but Nutting knows the newspaper business and is certainly much smarter than us, so we imagine Nutting has a very good reason for ignoring the brow beatings.
So the hell with it, let’s focus on something that would make Nutting look manly. We think Nutting should challenge PG writer Bob Smizik to a triathalon, no, how about a man-athalon. Shoot some groundhogs, bust some clays, drink some Irons, and a pork rind eating competition. It would make that clown with the furry hair look like an ass in front of his minions and that would be enjoyed by a great deal of Pirates fans. Well, mainly me.
It also wouldn’t hurt Bob Nutting to throw a quote like this around about the Pittsburgh Pirates, but of course replace Super Bowl, with World Series:
“I am absolutely desperate to win a Super Bowl.”—Mr. Daniel Snyder
It’s not enough for Nutting to say something like that, because it would appear hollow.
Especially due to the fact that Nutting can’t possibly be perceived by Pirates fans as passionate about the Bucs as Snyder is about his Redskins. Far from it. Many Pittsburgh fans and even some writers believe Nutting doesn’t care about wins or losses. That’s a problem that shouldn’t be ignored Bob.
When we googled Bob Nutting images, we couldn’t even find one with him wearing a Pirates logo. I am sure there is one out there, we just couldn’t find it. So yeh, there is some major image building needed. Desperately.
Why is Nutting always photographed in a dress shirt? Ditch that St. John’s Bay button down shit Bob. While you are at it, tell Neal and Frank to toss the ties. What’s wrong with the Pirates owner and his staff looking like the best dressed Pirates fan in the park? Put a Pirates cap on that full head of hair fellas! Pride? Passion? Get your shit together.
While you are at it, pass the message along the food chain too. When someone thinks of Pirates baseball, images of people in Brooks Brothers duds shouldn’t pop in my head. You guys aren’t lawyers. Well, most of you aren’t.
There is no denying Snyder has built an empire with the Redskins. It’s not hard to imagine the Pirates could be worth significantly more than it currently is. Sure it will never be at the value of Snyders’ Redskins. But it’s deeper than that.
Take a look at the minor league team in Bradenton. The new academy in El Toro, Dominican Republic. Nutting is building his empire with hard assets that will endure the certain coming rise in inflation. It’s a smart strategy.
“I really believe this is the finest facility in the Dominican.”—Bob Nutting
But it also alienates fans who see the team lose 105 games and will never see the shiny new baseball academy. One day when a Pirates player that was trained at the academy sets the league on fire, Pirates fans might understand its’ importance, But it’s a what have you done lately world…so it will take a while.
Nevertheless, it’s an asset that increased the value of the Pirates franchise, but more importantly to me, it will give the Bucs a better opportunity to compete in MLB for a long time if it’s kept modernized.
Snyder has spent more money just in the past few years than most believe Nutting will ever invest. It’s nearly impossible for Nutting to invest as much as Snyder has in his Redskins. But it certainly would be wise for Nutting to upgrade PNC Park as Snyder has done. It certainly needs it in several areas to remain at the top of the MLB pecking order.
Another key target for Nutting is the media silo. Snyder has spent the past two years growing his. From the Forbes story:
For $33 million he purchased four local radio stations to broadcast games. The Redskins own a Comcast ( CMCSA – news - people ) cable channel and have deals with local Fox and NBC affiliates. Through the team’s website he’s taken Redskins news in-house, under the direction of former USA Today reporter Larry Weisman. “It’s a smart way for him to control content and the message,” says Ganis. Replies Snyder: “We don’t skew it.” Either way it’s a potential moneymaker
Nutting landed a new deal with FSN prior to the season. Wonder how much it pays? In 2000, it was reported to be worth $4.5 million, so maybe $10-$12 million this year? That number might look splashy because the team has played so poorly, but it is not near a YES Network or NESN type deal that we have seen in Boston. It’s a growth area for Nutting.
Another disappointment is the fact that Nutting runs PiratesReport.com. Come on. Go big. Think big. You have some of the youngest talent Pittsburgh has seen in years. Why isn’t there a flood of information via a smooth, eye candied filled blog for fans to devour?
The Bucs have potential to gain dominance in the media marketplace because the MLB season is so extensive. They should dominate the Pittsburgh sports marketplace and set the standard. It’s a content rich environment. The chats with Frank Coonelly are interesting. But does anyone outside hardcore geeks enjoy that stuff? We don’t enjoy it. It’s about the talent. Why can’t we readily see Taillon pitch in instructs? Nutting should have the Pirates flooding the internet. It can be as extensive as they wish, but feed the monster. The fan base grew this year! Capitalize on it.
The clock is ticking and I’m confident Nutting is smart enough to realize he is missing out on a payday in the media marketplace. Hell, just look at the new Mario mural on the Pens site. Simple. Beneficial to a great cause. And a hit driving machine as people come and see their photo.
Daniel Snyder is well known for his lavish free agent signings. Bob Nutting isn’t. Nutting showed trust in Littlefield when Matt Morris was signed. Snyder is perceived as always trying to land talent for his pursuit of a Super Bowl championship. Nutting was called a fool.
Nutting learned his lesson and will never be given enough credit for spending tons of cash in the amateur draft. While Nutting spends the most in baseball on the draft in recent years, Snyder still signs aging players to lucrative contracts.
It’s easy to pick on the smart guys I guess. We sure do.
Maybe Bob Nutting could get a tattoo. What do you think? Nutting could get Kat from L.A. Ink to hook up a sweet Pirate on his chest or Raise The Jolly Roger on the side of his neck. He should definently drop the glasses. Maybe, get a crew cut.
Another thing fans love is an owner that talks with the fans. Nutting does this quite often. He is approachable. But it still doesn’t help. The trust level isn’t there because so many changes have happened in Pittsburgh in the past few years. Fan favorites are gone, replaced by younger, faster, better players that need to be marketed at a much higher level this offseason.
Until Lou and the talented Pirates marketing team makes that happen, and I am very confident it will. God, I would love if it was ‘viral.’ Simple. Cool.
But meanwhile, Bob could develop a drinking habit. He is always spotted drinking water. What happens when you order water at a Coyote Ugly?
It would be cool to see Nutting grab one too many Irons and start talking baseball with the fans at the local watering holes. Maybe get “caught” on tape muttering about how bad Aki pissed him off this year.
But for God sakes, wear something with a Pirates logo on it. Better yet, get your picture taken while wearing it and then maybe someone smart can get in on google search. It would be a great start toward gaining some respect in this town.