Raptors 2009 Offseason: Toronto - World Class City

There was an interesting article a couple of days ago by Bob Kravitz in the Indianapolis Star discussing whether or not the Indiana Pacers are too white.?? It’s a good read and raises a lot of good points, so do yourself a favour and read it if you haven’t already.? Personally, I don’t really think the Pacers are too white, I think that the Pacers are poorly managed, but that nobody wants to really admit it because it’s “Larry Legend” in charge in his home state.?? Do I think the Pacers are trying to choose players who more represent their home city’s demographic profile?? Yes…and I don’t really think anything is wrong with that…if you can win.

So I got to thinking, with so many different African-American players not wanting to stay in Toronto (or even come here), citing reasons such as the cold, the tax, the country, etc., why doesn’t Toronto effectively become Europe’s first NBA team…that just happens to be playing out of Canada?? Hedo said that the key to coming to Toronto (and don’t tell me it was because of the extra $3 mil, because over the life of the contract, that’s nothing) was the Turkish culture here and the cosmopolitan nature of the city.?? Why don’t the Raptors play that up as much as possible and make the Raptors into an international team?? We have seen that the “international game” can succeed on the world level (although this year’s Olympics saw a dominating performance by the Americans), so while the international game is different from the NBA, I don’t think it is irrational to see success carry over for the Raptors if they were to go this route.

Word is that Rasho might be coming back to the Raptors (and man, that would be a great signing if it gets done) and he has been quoted as saying, “To come back would be great, I’d love to.? Toronto is always and will always be my favourite city.”? You don’t typically get that kind of endorsement of?Toronto from any athlete outside of hockey, so if there is a trend that is being spotted in basketball here, why shouldn’t the Raptors get all over it?

We talk so much these days about how sports is a business, just like any other and that teams are in the business of making money.? Entertaining fans and winning championships is something that helps to drive the bottom line, but another key factor that has to be looked at, just like it is in any other business is the target market.? Toronto is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse cities.? Half of Toronto’s population was born outside of the city, but let’s not forget that the Raptors not only have Toronto to draw from, but the rest of the GTA, making ethnic diversity one of their assets.?? Right now, the Raptors have been covering the European players, but if they are able to find a gem of a player who is of Asian decent, look out.? Let’s remember, there was a lot of hype when Mengke Bateer was a Raptor for a cup of coffee and he sucked.?? If you’re the Raptors brass and you have a chance to take a promising kid in the draft out of the Chinese national team, wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity to capitalize on what has shown to be a demographic with an appetite for basketball?

People seem to get really touchy around this topic and of course, you can see why.? Nobody wants to be accused of being racist, so things tend to get heated when people start talking about where guys are from.? But I’m black and the way I see this is if the Raptors can put together a winning team that is comprised of mostly international players, then it seems to only make sense not only in a quest for an NBA championship, but also in order to grow the game (and therefore the business) in Toronto and its surrounding area.? Even when they aren’t winning, the Raptors do well in attendance, but if they were able to do some more targeting that also translated into wins, the ACC would be rammed every night and there would probably also be more television interest and merchandise sales, which leads to added revenue.

Maybe change the name from Toronto Raptors to Inter Toronto?? Ah…maybe not.

6 Comments

Morning Coffee – July 11 - Raptors Republic - Raptors Blog for the ESPN True Hoop Network  on July 11th, 2009

[...] RaptorsForum with so many different African-American players not wanting to stay in Toronto (or even come here), citing reasons such as the cold, the tax, the country, etc., why doesn’t Toronto effectively become Europe’s first NBA team…that just happens to be playing out of Canada?? Hedo said that the key to coming to Toronto (and don’t tell me it was because of the extra $3 mil, because over the life of the contract, that’s nothing) was the Turkish culture here and the cosmopolitan nature of the city.?? Why don’t the Raptors play that up as much as possible and make the Raptors into an international team?? [...]

Dennis  on July 11th, 2009

Winneing is good for business…bottom line

Linkage for Jul 9 8pm to Jul 11 8am - Raptors Republic - Raptors Blog for the ESPN True Hoop Network  on July 11th, 2009

[...] Raptors Blog » Raptors 2009 Offseason: Toronto - World Class City [...]

Doc  on July 11th, 2009

Nicely done Jay.

As I said yesterday, I’m actually quite surprised on how openly Toronto has been accepted as a Free Agent NBA destination this summer. I mean, maybe it because we are one of the few teams that has (and still has) money to burn, but either way its refreshing to hear for a change.

Jay  on July 11th, 2009

Sure, winning is good for business, but if you are going to grow your business and your brand, then going the extra mile outside of winning only makes sense.

jerry  on July 17th, 2009

1 the raptors went a disgusting 33-49season
2 they were 22 overall in defense and offense
what kind of money making winning team are they building, what the *&#!. Listen they only got turk for his outside game and pick n roll play to help establish with bosh eithier than that attendance was down slightly by 10% product and revenues seen slight earnings but the did see slower than expected rev in jan, (funny same time rap were in a funk)sorry to burst your theory!!!!!!! you cant win games with soft white boys who play primeter games and cant go to the whole, never mind championship and if you cant win games, well who want to see you and in a hockey city i dont think the raps want to take a chance in losing veiwership. if you took notice there are four new (one and one on offer) BLACK guys going to be added to the squad these guy funny enough are all know to be very agressive players wonder why colangelo did that?

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