Cats may have 9 lives, but the Nashville Kats of the Arena Football League may be done after only 2! Team owner (and Tennessee Titans owner) Bud Adams has decided to cease operations after only 3 seasons. His operation of the Kats followed a 4-year absence after the first version of the Kats franchise was sold and moved to Atlanta in 2001. The demise of the Kats is not surprising given declining attendance each season. Also, the Kats competed with college basketball, Nashville Predators, and Nashville Sounds at different times throughout their season.
The surprise is the failure of the franchise to gain traction despite having access to the marketing resources and relationships of the Titans. There is no sport property stronger in Tennessee than the Titans. It was expected that the expertise of the Titans in the areas of operations, ticket sales, marketing, and sponsorships could be leveraged to help the Kats. It seemed to be a perfect situation- the AFL season begins shortly after the NFL season is completed. Marketing the Kats could satisfy fans' appetite for football into the spring. Also, the Kats had a high profile minority owner in singer Tim McGraw. His involvement, which included a free concert for season ticket holders, added excitement initially.
Why did the Kats fail a second time? It wasn't the price of tickets as they were a great value. There was too little interest in the product; middle Tennesseans are passionate about "regular" football, but the arena product never really caught on. How much of the failure was the product? How much of the failure was how the product was marketed? Those questions must be answered before a third life for the Kats could ever happen. Link
Labels: Sports Marketing