A number of things surprised me about the Buffalo Bills’ signing of wide receiver Terrell Owens. As a long-suffering Bills fan, it was hard to accept that a player with his reputation wanted to play in Buffalo, or that the team actually signed a player of his reputation.
One thing did not surprise me though: The Bills’ savvy marketing department seized on the signing nearly instantly. As the Canadian Press reported:
It’s no coincidence that shortly after Owens was signed the Bills unveiled an Owens No. 1 team jersey and text-messaged fans to announce that their ticket office would be open Sunday morning.
Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold didn’t have the final numbers, but reported that sales were brisk.
Direct marketing was also at play in other channels. Business First of Buffalo has a good article which opens with a reference to (and a visual of) the e-mail that I and other members of the Bills’ house list received, with the headline “Pre-order your Terrell Owens jersey now.”
For as long as I’ve been a fan, the Bills’ marketing department has done an admirable job working within its limitations. Ticket sales are often brisk even though the team has not made the playoffs since I was in high school. We’ve even reported on its efforts to market the Bills in Toronto series. It was no surprise to me that it was ready and able to capitalize on the biggest splash in Bills football since Drew Bledsoe arrived in a trade from the Patriots a few years ago. The Buffalo News put only “offense” ahead of “media attention” and “marketing” in its article about how Owens’ arrival would affect the Bills.