On a day when eight bj-league teams were in action (Sunday) and four playoff games were held the night before, why would an official league sponsor (Sponichi, a daily sports paper) have a story, practically microscopic in size, on page 27 of a 30-page sports section?
I’ll tell you why: The league hasn’t done enough to convince the public and the mass media that it’s a legitimate league.
It’s no fault of the players. They’ve worked their tails off since 2005, when the league’s first season tipped off. Same goes for the dedicated coaches and training staffs.
Those who run the teams and those in the league office, though, are the ones who share the blame. Why? Voices of dissent are not being heard.
Expanding in a way that’s comparable to the speed of light (well, maybe not quite as fast), hurts the league’s image greatly.
And this is what happens: Even those who want to take the league seriously have second thoughts about doing so.
So, yeah, the bj-league is at a crossroads.
Does it focus on expansion (there’s already serious talk about more teams for 2012-13; this after 7 new teams will join/have joined the fold for this season and next) or actually spend time doing the hard work of improving its product, its image, its day-to-day operations?
Under the current league model, there could be 50 teams and the public wouldn’t start caring more about the league. Not without a sensible marketing strategy that is clearly stated and expressed and filtered through the various mass media outlets on the national, regional and local levels.