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  • Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

    Rams try to bring fans back

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    01/03/2010


    Four seasons into the Rams move to St. Louis, the bloom had worn off the horns. In 1998, the Rams were in the midst of their fourth consecutive losing season, and the needle was pointing down. Team management and various sponsors bought up thousands of tickets to keep the team's sellout streak alive

    Entering the 1999 season, it was nip-and-tuck to get the season opener against Baltimore televised locally. But just when things had reached a critical stage between the Rams and their fans, the gridiron miracle that was the Greatest Show on Turf rocketed the team to national prominence.

    More than a decade later, the Rams and their fans have reached another crossroads. The team is in the midst of a 6-41 free fall, hasn't had a winning season since 2003, and blackouts are becoming more commonplace.

    Sunday's season finale against San Francisco will be blacked out locally after falling far short of NFL sellout requirements. It's the third consecutive home game blacked out this season. Beginning with the 2006 home finale against Washington, nine of 25 regular-season home games have not made local television.

    During the height of the Greatest Show, the Rams used to brag — privately — that they didn't advertise because they didn't have to. Those days are long gone.

    "This organization for too long has taken fans for granted," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' executive vice president of football operations. "Has not paid enough attention to sponsors in the community and to making sure that people were invested in the club. If people are invested in the club, winning will help.

    "But I think it's easy to throw your hands up and say, 'Well, if the club was winning, people would go.' It's our challenge to make sure that people want to go, win or lose. They may have a better time if we win."

    But as Demoff sees it, the idea is to get fans and sponsors "invested" to the point where they say: "This is our team. These are the Rams. Let's go down and enjoy the game-day experience."

    Win or lose. Of course, when you lose over and over and over again, all the bells and whistles in the world won't help. There has to be at least some expectation of winning, not the hopelessness that has enveloped Rams football. And with a much less glamorous home schedule on tap in 2010, the challenge to fill seats in the Edward Jones Dome has never been greater.

    "Great football cities, and this is a great football city, support their team through good years and bad years," Demoff said. "Now we may be pushing the brink of that with three bad years in a row.

    "But I promise you, if we do our job, fans will show up. They're very supportive. They care deeply. They call the fan comment line. You see them in the chat rooms and the blogs. We follow all that. We know there's a deep passion for the Rams."

    Demoff said the Rams are trying to tap into that passion in a variety of ways. Improvements in the game-day presentation were a start this season. In a way, Demoff hopes Sunday's Fan Appreciation Day will be a start toward the 2010 season.

    Fans attending the Rams-***** game can buy concessions and souvenirs at discounted prices. There will be several giveaways during the game, and several opportunities for fans to interact with players before and during the contest. Such promotions are commonplace in baseball and other sports, but almost unheard of in football.

    "We want to give (fans) a reward for coming, whether it's discounted concessions, or special in-game giveaways of jerseys," Demoff said. "Players on injured reserve are going to sign autographs in the Bud Light Party zone when the doors open.

    "There are going to be prizes given away during the game for trips and the like. We're really going to try to make it so that if you're at the game you're going to walk away feeling like you got a value for going."

    Demoff said focus groups of fans and season-ticket holders are planned during the offseason to see what else can be done to improve the game-day experience.

    "Maybe changing some of the food options," Demoff said. "Obviously, looking at ticket prices and where we're going to go with that. But we've got a lot of work to do to make sure the fan's voice is heard and that those changes are reflective for 2010."

    This season, the Rams became the first team in NFL history to face four consecutive unbeaten teams at home in Green Bay, Minnesota, Indianapolis, and New Orleans. At one time, they faced the Nos. 1-4 quarterbacks in NFL passer rating in Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

    Next season, another top quarterback in Philip Rivers comes to town with the San Diego Chargers, but otherwise there's not much sizzle on the home schedule.

    "The schedule takes on its own rhythm every year," Demoff said. "What looks like a good game or a bad game in January of the previous year has no impact on what's a good game in November or December of 2010.

    "On paper, I don't think Jets fans were excited about the Bengals coming to the Meadowlands Week 17. Obviously, that's changed now that it's a win-or-go-home game."

    Minnesota didn't loom as such a glamorous opponent this season until Favre joined the Vikings. New Orleans, despite all its offensive weapons, was 8-8 in 2008.

    "I want the building to be full of Rams fans anyway," Demoff said. "And I don't care who the opponent is. I want us to deliver a great experience. Have people excited to come cheer for the Rams. And to have people not selling their tickets in the secondary market. ... The dome has been that way in prior years."

    And that's the challenge ahead in the new decade.

  • #2
    Re: Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

    If I just didn't live in Denmark..............

    Well at least there is no black outs on gamepass.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

      Kevin Demoff is doing his job- which is to do everything in his power to drum up fan interest to come to the Dome. However, I strongly disagree with his assertion that if it is made interesting enough, fans will show up win or lose. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      If a movie stinks, you walk out and take the loss- or at the very least gut it out and never watch the movie again. If you don't have fun at a theme park, you don't go a 2nd or a 3rd time. And if a football team stinks for a long period of time, drastic changes that lead to winning must be implemented- or one can expect the vast number of people to do something different with their discretionary income. A good fan tolerates some losing and understands every team has down years; a masochist continues to go to football games to watch a 6-41 team over the last three seasons. As the article says, no amount of bells and whistles will lure fans to a situation where you lose over and over again. And watching a losing team week after week just isn't fun. The blackouts illustrate this.

      While explanations for failure sometimes have merit, there are only so many times you can blame injuries, inexperience, bad luck or other adverse circumstances as reasons why you didn't get it done without it being a broken record. Steve Spagnuolo has done a decent job in some areas (purging the roster of a lot of dead weight, keeping up morale in tough times), and a poor job in others (uninspired play calling, not finding a way to eke out a couple of these close games). He has (rightly) been given much rope in his first year as head coach given the situation he inherited and the circumstances in which he took over. However, it will be totally unacceptable if the Rams do not show major improvement (minimum 5-6 wins) next season regardless of circumstances. Enough is enough. Spags has to show he is the guy to turn this thing around beyond a lot of "stay the course" rhetoric, or the bloom will be off the rose. Improvement must be shown on the field, and I'm not talking about the occasional close loss. Moral victories grew old a long time ago.

      Winning solves all problems, including filling stadiums to capacity.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

        NJRAMS, I somewhat agree with what your saying about the fans,but don't you think if the game was more exciting the fans would show or at least more fans,your right wins are what matters but if the Rams gave them something to cheer about during the game and even though they lost a couple 31-28 games I think the interest would be there,but the fans don't get anything close to that so you can give out cheap hot dogs and beer(which by the way would make me go) but you need to make the GAME exciting or the seats will continue to be empty.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

          Originally posted by jkramsfan View Post
          NJRAMS, I somewhat agree with what your saying about the fans,but don't you think if the game was more exciting the fans would show or at least more fans,your right wins are what matters but if the Rams gave them something to cheer about during the game and even though they lost a couple 31-28 games I think the interest would be there,but the fans don't get anything close to that so you can give out cheap hot dogs and beer(which by the way would make me go) but you need to make the GAME exciting or the seats will continue to be empty.

          I guess management has to do something to show they're trying & it's all a matter of what the fan is looking for, JK, but I can tell you from a personal standpoint, all the discounted merchandise and food mean nothing to me. If I lived near where the Rams play and had season tickets, WINS would be the only thing getting me to the stadium. Six straight years of losing records trumps any "sweeteners" management can come up with to lure me to the Dome.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

            Originally posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
            I guess management has to do something to show they're trying & it's all a matter of what the fan is looking for, JK, but I can tell you from a personal standpoint, all the discounted merchandise and food mean nothing to me. If I lived near where the Rams play and had season tickets, WINS would be the only thing getting me to the stadium. Six straight years of losing records trumps any "sweeteners" management can come up with to lure me to the Dome.
            Great post. Only a few cities can have a loser team and keep filling the stadium.

            Lets use Arizona for example. When the Cardinals stunk it up for so many years, you couldn't give tickets away. No one wanted to waste their time going to the stadium to watch them lose. Look now, they are one of the league's elite and selling out the stadium.

            Winning solves everything. That's simple. So for people to question the team's attendance really don't understand what is going on. Fans want to watch the team win, not get creamed week after week.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

              I think a good start would be to win more than once in 26 games.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

                Originally posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
                I guess management has to do something to show they're trying & it's all a matter of what the fan is looking for, JK, but I can tell you from a personal standpoint, all the discounted merchandise and food mean nothing to me. If I lived near where the Rams play and had season tickets, WINS would be the only thing getting me to the stadium. Six straight years of losing records trumps any "sweeteners" management can come up with to lure me to the Dome.
                Dear NJ Ramsfan1, great post and bingo. Gimmicks are really not the answer. put a competitive product out there. There is not enough beer in the dome to numb the pain of this team and play of 2009.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

                  Originally posted by Mooselini View Post
                  Great post. Only a few cities can have a loser team and keep filling the stadium.

                  Lets use Arizona for example. When the Cardinals stunk it up for so many years, you couldn't give tickets away. No one wanted to waste their time going to the stadium to watch them lose. Look now, they are one of the league's elite and selling out the stadium.

                  Winning solves everything. That's simple. So for people to question the team's attendance really don't understand what is going on. Fans want to watch the team win, not get creamed week after week.
                  I am not sure that any city now-days will support a losing team. KC was a city that was one of the hardest to get gameday tickets. Look at them now. Ticket prices, and in some case just the right to buy them, have made going to a game too expensive. If a team wants to charge more than 25$US for a seat, even lower bowl 50 yd line, they have to put a winning product on the field. Even if it was only .500 or better at home, and losing everywhere else, you have to be able to win home games in order to sell tickets on a regular basis.


                  gap

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

                    Hey, I go to every Rams game and always watch us lose on Sundays. I could spend my Sunday anywhere else, but I elect to spend it at the Edward Jones Dome to support the greatest team in the NFL. The least they could do was give my a Steven Jackson Pro Bowl poster (that was the giveaway from everybody upon exit).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Rams Try To Bring Fans Back

                      Originally posted by The Rammer View Post
                      Hey, I go to every Rams game and always watch us lose on Sundays. I could spend my Sunday anywhere else, but I elect to spend it at the Edward Jones Dome to support the greatest team in the NFL. The least they could do was give my a Steven Jackson Pro Bowl poster (that was the giveaway from everybody upon exit).
                      Props to you. If I still lived in St. Louis, and could afford seaon tickets, I too would be there. Heck, I'd even be going downtown to see how cheap I could buy tickets from the "scalpers".

                      Unfortunately most people aren't real fans, like those of us here. This team catered to the "I want to be seen" crowd when they started off, and they are now reaping the "benefits" of giving priority to PSL orders that came from certain zip codes. The people that would now still buy season tickets cannot do so without buying someone's PSL, and they probably don't think the team deserves that kind of loyalty.

                      All things being equal, a large majority of just about any city wouldn't want to spend their money going to these games.


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                      • MauiRam
                        Rams’ Front Office Doing It the Right Way/Karraker
                        by MauiRam
                        By Randy Karraker on May 10th, 2013


                        As the Rams continue to emerge from the debris of a five-year run that saw them go 15-65, at least one aspect of their organization has been trending upward for well over a year. Since his arrival in January of 2009, Kevin Demoff has spearheaded an organizational relationship with the fans and community that places them among the elite in sports.

                        The Rams’ community relations efforts have almost always been strong since the franchise arrived in St. Louis. Players like my partner, D’Marco Farr, and his teammates Kevin Carter, Sean Landeta, Mike Jones and Kurt Warner did wonderful work by going to schools and helping out with charitable events during their careers.

                        But the new Rams, since Demoff’s arrival, have taken it to a new level. Not only are players and coaches heavily involved in St. Louis, but the entire organization is. Since June of 2009, the entire Rams office has taken off a day each month for volunteer work. Whether it’s with non-profit groups, women’s shelters, helping out in Joplin after the tornado there or building playgrounds in the St. Louis area, there’s something each month for which Rams employees volunteer.

                        Beyond their work in the community, the Rams under Demoff have made huge strides to engage their season-ticket holders. For the second year in a row, the Rams held a pre-draft event with general manager Les Snead and coach Jeff Fisher in which a picture of how the draft might unfold is painted. Season-ticket holders with the ability to read between the lines have been able to figure out which players the Rams will be interested in. The free event was booked solid in less than 24 hours. Jake Bye, the Rams’ vice president of ticket sales and premium seating, recently told Ad Age magazine that “the shift to a ‘relationship-based marketing approach,’ is paying dividends.” Despite a losing record on the field, the Rams are renewing 90 percent of season-ticket holders.

                        The Rams are the only team in the NFL to hold such a pre-draft event, let alone on the night before the draft. That event is a great bonus to fans. But so was the salary cap seminar Demoff held before free agency got started and the in-season lunches he holds for fans. Demoff takes time to have fans join him for informational happy hours, and he visits numerous tailgate parties before each game. He holds sessions for fans about 20 times a year, which is remarkable in this day and age. How many team presidents are taking the time to meet with customers that regularly? As a season-ticket holder, I can tell you that the one-on-one interaction between team and customer is unlike any I’ve seen.

                        When the Rams came here, especially with most seats sold through PSLs, there wasn’t a need to market the team, or really interact with fans. The tickets were basically already sold. According to Bye, that’s all changed now – not just in St. Louis,...
                        -05-11-2013, 04:33 PM
                      • r8rh8rmike
                        Rams-***** Game Likely To Be Televised Here
                        by r8rh8rmike
                        Rams-***** game likely to be televised here

                        BY JIM THOMAS
                        Wednesday, December 22, 2010

                        What was the bigger long shot entering the 2010 season? The Rams being in playoff contention in Game 15 of the regular season? Or all eight home games being televised locally?

                        It looks as if both unlikely developments will converge Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. The winner of Sunday's home finale against San Francisco will take a huge step toward the NFC West championship. And it looks like the noon contest will meet NFL sellout requirements and thus be on local TV.

                        "We're getting close," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' executive vice president of football operations. "We have some feelers out for corporate support should we need it. We've sold a lot of tickets in the past few weeks leading up to this game, so we're pleased with that. I'm very optimistic that we'll get it on television."

                        As of Tuesday afternoon, Demoff said more than 1,000 tickets remained.

                        "It's important to try to figure out a way to get this game on," Demoff said. "Not only because it would mean we'd go without a blackout this year. But also, given the importance of this game to the playoff race, I think it's important that our fans get a chance to see it on television."

                        Fan appreciation day

                        The Rams will hold their second annual Fan Appreciation Day at Sunday's Rams-***** contest. Demoff said hot dogs, soda and all merchandise — jerseys included — will be half price.

                        "There will be contests and prizes throughout the game," he said. "We'll give away jerseys to loyal fans. It should be a great game-day atmosphere at the Edward Jones Dome. Not only is it Fan Appreciation Day, it's obviously a very important game to finish off the regular season at home."

                        Chiefs fans

                        Demoff said the spike in San Francisco ticket sales in recent weeks shows that fans are interested in attending games. And unlike the Kansas City game, these sales are to Rams fans, Demoff said.

                        Although there's no way to track an exact number, Demoff estimated there were 6,000 to 7,000 Chiefs fans in the stands for Kansas City's 27-13 victory. Other observers thought it looked like several thousand more than that.

                        "I thought our fans were passionate and loud on Sunday," Demoff said. "They have been. You always want to see 66,000 Rams fans in the building. That's organizational utopia, but it doesn't always work out that way."
                        -12-22-2010, 04:15 PM
                      • MauiRam
                        Rams fans just need a few wins ..
                        by MauiRam
                        Bernie Miklasz • Thursday, September 16, 2010 12:15 am

                        In the closing weeks and days of the preseason, it seemed that the Rams were creating some excitement in the sporting community. There was considerable chirping over Sam Bradford, and a more optimistic tone in the chattering over the team's on-field prospects for 2010.

                        This wasn't Green Bay or Pittsburgh, but the fan base surely seemed energized. For the first time in several years Rams fans were looking forward to the season instead of dreading it.

                        Sunday's home opener was billed as a sellout. And then only 52,440 showed up at the Edward Jones Dome to watch the Rams succumb to the Cardinals 17-13 after an entertaining and fiercely played contest. It was the Rams' fourth-smallest home crowd over the last five seasons.

                        So what happened here? Were we wrong in gauging the intensity of the fan interest?

                        Yes.

                        No.

                        Both answers are true. The TV ratings for this game were outstanding. According to Post-Dispatch media writer Dan Caesar, 26 percent of the homes in the St. Louis market checked out the Rams-Cards on KTVI (Channel 2). It was the highest rating for a Rams opener since 2004. It was the best overall Rams TV rating since early in the 2006 season. The ratings represented a 37.5 percent increase over last season's highest-rated game.

                        That's impressive. St. Louis was curious about the latest version of the Rams. Fewer fans were willing to pay for the view inside the stadium, which holds roughly 67,000.

                        This combination of big TV numbers and thousands of empty seats isn't a contradiction. It makes perfect sense.

                        The more casual fans are willing to make an emotional investment in the Rams. They were, at least on opening day, charged up to turn on the HD televisions, fire up some chicken wings, ice some cold beverages and watch Rams football at home.

                        The challenge for the Rams is more daunting: convert the emotional investment into a financial investment.

                        Motivate fence-sitting fans to buy tickets.

                        The fans aren't to blame here. The bad economy means a more cautious approach to discretionary spending. The Rams have a 6-43 record since the start of the 2007 season. Fans were offended by the premature destruction of the "Greatest Show" Rams by feuding front-office executives and coaches. A series of horrible drafts and incomprehensibly poor personnel moves only weakened the public's support.

                        Why give your money to a team that simply cannot get it right? Why sacrifice hard-earned dollars to support and reward a dysfunctional and incompetent operation? The damage inflicted on this franchise was extreme. And it can't be fixed in a short time. This is a good football town, but customers will only put up with so much incompetence and losing. Every fan has a limit.

                        It's a shame...
                        -09-16-2010, 02:16 AM
                      • RamWraith
                        Article on Fan support
                        by RamWraith
                        Ignore the results, just give the Rams your $$
                        By Josh Bacott December 20, 2007
                        Email Link Printer Friendly
                        Don’t blame Steven Jackson.

                        As much as you wanted to blame him when you read his comments in Bryan Burwell’s Monday column, the Rams running back’s angry rant on the lack of support at Sunday’s game was to be expected. It appeared a little rash and not all that well thought out but, considering the league he plays in and the team that employs him, it was expected nonetheless.

                        Even if Jackson’s intent was to demonstrate his equal frustration in the team, the front office, the coaches and the fans, his comments hit squarely on only one of those groups. And criticizing the fan support after your team just got pummelled 33-14 to fall to 3-11 overall is not something people tend to react well to. I wasn’t on hand to hear the comments by Jackson so I can’t say for sure if his venom was aimed at the fans that indirectly pay his salary, but the general topic brings to light two larger points:

                        1.) Attendance at the Dome isn’t as bad as people might have you think
                        Despite the blackouts, that diatribes by team members and the general lack of interest in the team this year, 96% of tickets to Rams home games have been sold this year - That number is better than football powerhouses such as Pittsburgh (95.5%), Indianapolis (95.1%), Chicago (92.8%) and Buffalo (88.7%) amongst others. Those claiming that St. Louis isn’t a football town would also have to argue the same about each of these cities. An average of 62,664 people have come out to watch the Rams go 1-6 at home this season. With performances like that, it’s not a surprise that some of those tickets find their way into the hands of the opposing fans. The people of St. Louis still support this franchise, they’re just waiting for it to become mutual.

                        2.) The NFL is just like every other entertainment product even though they think they’re not
                        It doesn’t take many upper level business courses to figure out that if a low-quality product is being sold to the public at a high price, sales will eventually suffer. The Rams suck. Let’s just get that out there right now. They play a boring style of football that has produced the second worst record in the league, continuing their ugly free fall into the depths of the NFL. It’s not a shock that fans are beginning to find better ways to spend their money and their Sunday afternoons, nor is it unique to St. Louis. As KC Star columnist Joe Posnanski wrote yesterday, the same thing is happening in Kansas City, by all accounts one of the best football cities in the nation.

                        Steven Jackson’s attitude is symptomatic of a growing issue within the league. As the NFL has risen to prominence throughout the country, front office folks and league officials have come to assume that fans will continue to come to NFL games in droves regardless of the product on the field....
                        -12-20-2007, 12:28 PM
                      • r8rh8rmike
                        Rams Home Opener? Packed
                        by r8rh8rmike
                        Rams home opener? Packed
                        By Bill Coats
                        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                        09/23/2009

                        Even if the economy were bullish, the Rams would be facing a bear of a challenge to fill seats at the Edward Jones Dome. The team has lost 29 of its last 34 games — including 12 in a row — and fans are increasingly unwilling to dig deep into their pockets to support it.

                        Stadiums packed with energized, enthusiastic fans aren't a given in the NFL these days. League commissioner Roger Goodell recently estimated that 20 percent of this season's games could be blacked out on local television by not selling out.

                        The Rams won't reach that nadir, at least for the first week. The home opener on Sunday vs. Green Bay is only a few hundred tickets away from a sellout, thanks in large part to Green Bay fans who flock to other cities to watch the Packers because they can't get tickets at home.

                        The second home game, Oct. 4, vs. Minnesota, probably will fill the house, too, thanks to the presence of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.

                        "We appreciate Mr. Favre's contribution," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams executive vice president of football operations.

                        After that, it's anyone's guess for the last six home games.

                        Demoff declined to say how many season tickets the club has sold for the season. "We have a very solid base, but it's not where we want it to be," he said.

                        As for the percentage of renewals they received, Demoff would say only that the Rams are "slightly above the league average," where renewals are down significantly. Jacksonville, for example, lost about 17,000 of its 42,000 season-ticket holders from last year.

                        "And we'll have other markets that'll have those challenges," Goodell told reporters earlier this month. "Our clubs have been working hard in the offseason to create other ways to try to get people in the stadiums."

                        For the Rams, that has meant not raising prices and overseeing $30 million in upgrades to the stadium, including high-tech scoreboards; new paint schemes and lighting intended to brighten the building; a large sports bar open to all; upgrades in the suite areas; and more high-end accommodations.

                        "Everything we've done this year has been driven by the fans," Demoff said. "From the changes at the dome to the changes on the field to the changes in the coaching staff … all have been focused on providing a better experience on the Sundays when our fans are in the dome."

                        Selling tickets wasn't always a problem. The team's first 100 games — regular season and playoffs — after moving to St. Louis from Los Angeles in 1995 were sold out. But at the end of the 2006 season, as the Rams were finishing up their third straight year without a winning record, the team failed to fill the house for a Christmas Eve...
                        -09-22-2009, 11:15 PM
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