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Rams’ Front Office Doing It the Right Way/Karraker

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  • Rams’ Front Office Doing It the Right Way/Karraker

    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, but all over the NFL.

    “When we approach somebody to buy a season ticket, it’s not ‘here’s our schedule, here’s our price’ anymore,” he said. “You’re buying a partnership with the Rams that costs $300 – not tickets to 10 games that cost $300.”

    Demoff has made the point himself that the Rams started the process of communicating with fans too late. He’s said that the franchise should have been doing what they do now since they got here. But, to be realistic, they didn’t need to. It wasn’t the nicest way to do business, but the team essentially had a captive audience for the first six or seven years here. Regardless of how much winning they do in the future, he plans on keeping the season-ticket holders in the loop and informed, and on answering any question thrown his way – even the most difficult ones.

    With the greatness of sports on TV, a sluggish economy and various events tugging on every consumer, sports teams need to find a way to get fans into their venues. While winning solves everything, you simply can’t plan on winning all the time. Now, the Rams are on their way to overcoming such obstacles. They want to make home Sundays a fun, all-day event for their fans, and they want to make it even more worthwhile to be a season-ticket holder.

    They’ve done a magnificent job. It’s an organization worth doing business with.

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Try To Bring Fans Back
    by r8rh8rmike
    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....
    -01-02-2010, 11:21 PM
  • 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, 11:28 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams Freeze Prices
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    12/24/2008

    With an eye toward the economy, as well as the team's won-loss record, the Rams are freezing prices on almost all tickets for the 2009 season.

    "We are sensitive to our fans and the choices that they have to make for the entertainment dollar," said Bob Wallace, Rams executive vice president and general counsel. "It's clear that the economy's going through a tough stretch right now. People are having to make choices. We don't want to add to that burden, so we've decided for our loyal fans — they have been great fans — to freeze prices."

    Wallace did say that because of some refurbishment on the lower level of the stadium bowl, there may be a price increase on "a little under 2,000 seats" in the 66,000-seat Edward Jones Dome.

    Those 2,000 seats, which most likely will be between the 40-yard lines, are being changed to something that's more like a club seat concept, according to Wallace.

    With the above exception, this marks the second straight season that the Rams have decided to freeze ticket prices. What's unusual about this year's news is that the team didn't even wait until the end of the season to make the policy known.

    Last season, the price freeze wasn't made known until the beginning of February. The early notice on the 2009 price freeze could be a reflection of concern over season-ticket renewals.

    "Obviously, it's a lot better to come off a very, very successful season than it is to come off a season that we're all disappointed in," Wallace said. "Combine that with a tough economy and, yes, we are concerned about the renewals."

    According to Wallace, the Rams have had a season-ticket renewal rate of more than 90 percent every offseason since the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995. But with just one game remaining this season, the Rams have lost 26 of 31 games since the start of the 2007 season. Understandably, that has led to much unrest among the fan base. The past two home games have been blacked out on local television because they did not sell out.

    Fans who buy season tickets or renew PSLs for 2009 will see a spruced-up stadium that will have undergone $30 million worth of upgrades by the start of the preseason. Bids are still out on the refurbishment, Wallace said, so not all of the plans are finalized.

    But at a minimum, there will be new scoreboards in both the end zones, upgrades in some of the club seat lounges, and a major paint job to help lighten up the atmosphere in the dome.

    "I'm 99.9 percent sure that we'll have two new scoreboards that will be substantially better than what's there now," Wallace said. "In this market we use as benchmarks what the other venues have. These (new scoreboards) will be similar if not better to what's in Busch (Stadium)...
    -12-24-2008, 04:43 AM
  • RamWraith
    Not much buzz locally for Rams or Mizzou
    by RamWraith
    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    08/23/2007
    Jeff Gordon


    The football in these parts should be memorable this season.

    The Rams have added some blue-chip youngsters to their defense and proven playmakers to their already-potent offense. Some experts see them as a breakthrough team in the wide-open NFC West, where the ***** are still maturing and the Gridbirds have already suffered some major injury hits.

    The University of Missouri seems poised for a record-setting offensive year, with quarterback Chase Daniel throwing the ball to a huge assortment of skilled receivers, tight ends and running backs. Sportswriters actually picked the Tigers to win the Big 12 North over Nebraska.

    The University of Illinois has won just four games in Ron Zook’s two seasons, but two remarkable recruiting classes rebuilt the program’s talent base. If the kids can grow quickly, the Illini could move back into the bowl picture this autumn.

    Optimism abounds around these teams. But for a variety of reasons, St. Louis football fans are taking a wait-and-see approach to all three teams.

    Skepticism remains. Fans are NOT rushing out to buy the remaining tickets to see these teams play downtown at the Edward Jones Dome.
    Advertisement


    What do fans expect this season? They are voting with their wallets, and right now that vote is “undecided.” Their lack of faith is almost alarming.

    The Rams saw their sellout streak end last season, when the team stumbled to an injury-marred 8-8 finish. In Year Two of the Scott Linehan Era, the team still has unsold tickets for its first six home games this season.

    The December games against the Steelers and Packers are sold out, due to the fervent support those storied franchises receive. But as many as 4,500 tickets remain for the other games.

    The dome was about half-full for the Rams’ first preseason game (thanks to a massive number of no-shows) and the CBS telecast was blacked out. More blackouts could follow unless fans buy into the team’s offseason improvement and purchase the remaining ducats.

    When folks size up the preseason debacle against the Chargers -– a game featuring porous run defense, special teams breakdowns and costly turnovers -– they saw more of the bad stuff that doomed the Rams to mediocrity last season.

    Here at STLtoday.com, we get lots of excited e-mail from overly optimistic Rams fans from around the world. But locally, the buzz isn’t there yet.

    The team still has some convincing to do. The Rams must make their case on the field, not with stepped-up advertising and marketing. They need to score a couple of touchdowns Friday night in Oakland before St. Louis hits the sack.

    As for the Tigers and Illini, the dismal advance gate for their Sept. 1 showdown is shocking....
    -08-23-2007, 06:39 PM
  • RamsInfiniti
    What is wrong with the fans?
    by RamsInfiniti
    I would assume that most of the posters on this board are truly diehard and would go to the game at whatever cost, if at all possible ...

    With that said ...

    What is wrong with the fans in St. Louis?

    1300 tickets still left? We are only 1 game into the season and the "fans" are giving up? I realize that for the majority of the third quarter and all of the first quarter, we play like horsecrap against the Panthers. Problem was, I saw fans leaving in the third quarter!!

    I don't live in St. Louis. I live way down in Alabama and I got a chance to finally come to the game last year against the *****. I was amazed at how QUIET the dome was. Where is the passion? Where is the fight?

    I don't understand how there could possibly still be tickets available! Nothing would stop me from going to the game, especially if I could get tickets for cheap. I wish I was able to drive to St. Louis this weekend, but it's just not possible ...

    WE NEED SOME NOISE IN THE DOME THIS WEEK! The morale is this team is seemingly low, and we need a 12th man. Come on!

    I might be the biggest homer ever, but I am sitting down, jumping around, screaming, and yelling at my TV every week, whether we are 6-2 or 1-7. I feel that I am a real fan, and I will support this team, every week, until I die. As a matter of fact, I haven't missed a single game in 6 years now, and sometimes it's hard to find a way to get them out of market. Now I have DirecTV, so I see em all, but I can't tell you how many crackshack bars I've been to in an effort to support my Rams ....

    REMEMBER!!! We were 4-1 last year and lost several in a row. It's still early, and we can turn this around just as well: I have no doubt we'll rebound against the ***** ...

    Rams 20, ***** 17 ...
    -09-12-2007, 08:26 AM
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