Can Blazers Deliver On President Chris McGowan's New Online Strategy?

Marc Serota

What do you want to see -- and not see -- from the Portland Trail Blazers' online presence when the 2013-14 season gets underway?

The Sacramento Kings’ new ownership rolled out a fresh strategy this week to better understand its fans desired in-game and post-game experience:

Ask them.

As written about on Sactown Royalty, a Sacramento Kings blog on SB Nation, Kings co-owner Andy Miller sent out two tweets asking for fans’ input on how the franchise can better utilize social media and other technology during games and outside of games.

This movement toward stronger social and new media technologies isn’t new or unique. The NBA as a league has long been a pioneer in the social media space, topping one billion total YouTube views. They also feature more than eight million Twitter followers, three million more than any other major sports league.

What may be the more progressive thought, though, is directly asking fans for their feedback on the products they’ll ultimately be using throughout the season.

This isn’t to say that the organization will be (or should be) turning to fans for input on everything. We saw how clear that was for a major business decision here in Portland just a few weeks ago, which was met with overwhelming criticism. It does give the impression, though, that the Kings organization is listening to what the needs of the fans are—a theory that was seemingly lost in Sacramento in years past.

The opportunity for this kind of direct fan interaction really hasn’t ever been seen for very long, simply because the technology didn’t exist. With it now easier than ever to speak directly to your best customers, who wouldn’t want to take advantage?

The Portland Trail Blazers also are making plans to enhance the fan experience on their digital media properties. In March, Blazers president Chris McGowan stated he was "not happy" with the team’s websites. The new social media strategy, according to the team, will be to talk "with our fans rather than at them."

Unlike the Kings during the Maloof era, the Blazers have enjoyed a positive relationship with their fan base, at least for the last few years. Blazers fans also tend to be very outspoken about their team, whether it be positively or negatively.

Because of this, the team doesn’t necessarily have to go quite as far out of the way to gain the opinion of the fans—they tend to naturally make that known -- but the organization's new marketing team did launch a comprehensive survey in May to ask some of those questions. A digital marketing department restructuring followed in June, which brought a change in leadership and new roles for the staff that remained.

The season is fast approaching, and it will soon be time to see whether McGowan's goal has been met and what changes resulted from the fan survey.

With that in mind, Blazers fans, what do you want to see from the team’s mobile application next season? What tone do you hope their social media sets? What experience do you expect to have, both during the game and outside it? What should stay? What should go?

If the team truly wishes to please McGowan on the web and talk with the fans, the answers to those questions will surely be taken into account.

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