Some number of kids, who should probably be in school, turned out for the unveiling of Franklin, whose backstory is that he’s a dog that was present at famous Philly and Sixers events, such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence… Continue Reading
Holy shit they went with a variant of B. Franklin Dogg. Sort of.
Sixers chief marketing officer Tim McDermott – brother of Sean, once fired by Eagles – confirmed to Zach Lowe of Grantland over the weekend the name and general existence of the new Sixers mascot, which (who?) will be officially unveiled at… wait for it… the Franklin Institute tomorrow:
The Sixers are set to unveil a new mascot this week, and they confirmed its identity to Grantland over the weekend: a fluffy blue dog named Franklin.
The Sixers consulted several experts, including Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic, but they handed most of the creative duties to 1,000 kids ages 6 to 10 in the Delaware Valley, says Tim McDermott, the team’s chief marketing officer. The team’s research showed that most fans become fans within that age range, and so the Sixers decided to build a mascot kids that age would like.
The team revised designs and narrowed the field after each round of meetings with local kids. Ben Franklin was out, but dogs were in. The kids liked fluffy things and blue things, and the Sixers zeroed in on the Franklin character. It was among two finalists; McDermott won’t disclose the other, but he says he guessed the kids would have chosen it over Franklin the dog. They didn’t, and so the Sixers’ on-court representative will be a big, furry, blue dog called Franklin. Ben Franklin himself might not be of much interest to young children, but the Sixers are at least naming the mascot for him.
The kids liked fluffy things and blue things. I’m fearing the worst:
On our podcast in November, Scott O’Neil spoke about the kid focus group process:
“We had a pretty extensive kinda ‘For Kids, by Kids’ type research campaign. We brought in 140 kids from different cross-sections of the city and the feeling is that we think it’s wonderful to have a fan vote and a season ticket holder vote and all that stuff, but a mascot is for kids. I don’t know how much I’m hugging any of the mascots personally but I will tell you that when my girls go to the came they’re always looking for the mascot. So I think our approach was really smart. The kids picked the visual design — I think we started with 30 designs — so we’re down to pick the design, pick the color, pick the name. I think people will over time learn to love the mascot.
As you know in a city like Philadelphia, when you launch anything new, we’re likely to get a little bit of pushback. And that’s okay … I won’t comment on Phil E. Moose or whatever the other ones were, but I will say that the business of entertaining through a mascot is so much more sophisticated than people think or know or you could even believe if you knew what that business looked like. That being said, we have a terrific entertainer who I know and have worked with before who will light the world up, and we just need to take a breath and remember it’s for the kids and let’s go have some fun and get some pictures with your kids and this character and let’s go have some fun and win some basketball games. We’ll have a much more playful, light approach.”
We’ll have full mascot coverage tomorrow. But I’m telling you right now, if one of Franklin’s tricks isn’t coming out and marking his territory on the opposing team’s shootaround basket before every game, I am going to be very upset.
H/T to Matt Rappa for the enhanced screen grab
Sports Betting Updates
The Sixers teased their new mascot, which will be unveiled on February 10 at the Franklin Institute, on Friday night in an admittedly clever video. Here’s what we know: it’s blue,and potentially the Cookie Monster.
Cookie monster hand:
Sixers thing hand:
Whether it likes cookies or not, the Sixers are really hammering home the “For Kids, By Kids” thing. And if this thing is as weird as it can be coming from the minds of children, then we should be fine. At least it’s not a moose.
When we talked to Scott O’Neil on the Crossing Streams podcast, he told us that a mascot was coming soon — January, he said — and that it was going to be for kids and the rest of us should just lighten up. So, the Sixers took input from kids focus groups. We don’t know if the kids in this video were involved (full clip available here), but I am all for a mascot that is a skeleton, made out of candy, wearing a hat. Better than a fucking moose.
On Friday, Kyle and I spoke on the podcast with Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil about Larry Brown, gambling, Joel Embiid’s Twitter, and more. You can check the whole thing out on LibertyBroadcast.co when it posts later today, but here’s how O’Neil described the call he had with Brown following the duo’s public jabs at each other:
“I’m really disappointed in the comments you made. And we’re working our asses off here,” I said [to him]. “We’re working really hard, and I just don’t appreciate it. If you have an issue or problem, I’d rather you just pick up the phone and call and let’s talk it out. We’re big boys, we can handle it. We’re certainly far from perfect. I make mistakes every single day and so does Sam, but to say the things you said, I don’t appreciate it.” And he says to me, “I don’t appreciate what you said.” And man oh man there are a lot of things I could have said. I made the joke about SMU, a team that’s actually doing well. But everyone here that knows Philadelphia and Philadelphia basketball knows what I could have said and chose not to. I chose to go high road on it and that spiraled into more nasty stuff, and I don’t want that here. I don’t do well with negative energy and negative karma and I just want to talk this through a little bit and if you’re upset about something, then let’s chat.”
Additionally, as the CEO of a team that is sponsored by Party Poker and Draft Kings, O’Neil had some thoughts about sports gambling and Adam Silver’s New York Times Op-Ed in support of it:
“I don’t know if you’ve read the commissioner’s op-ed piece in the Times, but Commissioner Silver, who I worked for for several years and I’m very close with, just came out and said the NBA has opposed legalized gambling on sports in the U.S. for 20 years and we think it’s time to change our position. And his perspective is that there’s a lot of money that’s being spent, and through legalization you have much more regulation, you take it out from the shadows and you can track money flow easier and cleaner and therefore get rid of any of the issues. As long as you can keep the integrity of the game, it’s time for us to find a solution. And I would say I tend to agree with him. He’s a smart guy and he’s studied the issue a lot more than I have. But if you go to a soccer or football game in Europe and you walk into a suite they hand you a betting slip. “Who’s gonna score the next goal?” “Who’s gonna win the game?” It’s unbelievable. You can gamble on anything from time of possession to lord knows what.
Is that gonna come here with a really digitally connected fan base, where you can say “Is he gonna make these free throws? Here’s five bucks”? I dunno. But is sports betting coming to the U.S. legally? Absolutely. Is it going to be in 10 years or 10 months, I’m not quite sure. But I know it’s gonna be here, and I thought it was an interesting public statement from the commissioner.”
Once again, the whole podcast will be up later today with much more, including news that we’re finally getting that mascot by mid-January. It’s not Phil E. Moose – or a moose at all! – and it’s, you know, for kids.
Somehow, after the post about Sixers jobs yesterday, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of Team Work Online job postings. Used to do that quite a bit when I had jobs I hated, but have since realized that most team jobs to which the Average Joe can apply are 70-hour per week indentured servitudes with funky hours and potentially no food. But, every now and then, there’s a winner. So, WHO WANTS TO BE SWOOP?
— TeamWork Online (@TeamWorkOnline) August 4, 2014
The Eagles recently posted a position for MASCOT APPRENTICE. And while that may sound like something Cousin Eddie’s older boy would do after barking for the Yak Woman (you ever see her? she’s got these big horns growing right out above her ears), it does sound like a pretty cool opportunity:
The Mascot Apprentice will be responsible for assisting SWOOP, the Eagles official mascot, at approximately 200 events annually. The scope of said events shall be threefold: those of a charitable nature, those of a corporate, revenue-generating nature, and those conducted in conjunction with Eagles’ corporate partners. In addition, the Mascot Apprentice, a highly motivated, energetic, talented individual will have the unique opportunity to learn the craft of SWOOP with the potential to perform as SWOOP for approximately up to 50 events annually including game-days. Mascot Apprentice will be responsible for maintaining the positive image for the mascot character.
Assist SWOOP, the Eagles official mascot, at approximately 200 events annually. Assisting includes a variety of duties such as ensuring mascot has mandatory break during event, communicating directives of client to mascot while in costume, helping to assure safety of mascot while in costume, carrying mascot gear, giveaways, and autograph materials.
Learn the unique craft of performing as SWOOP
Perform at approximately 50 corporate and community events as well as game-days by performing as SWOOP, once learning of craft is achieved.
Communicate regularly with Marketing Assets Coordinator to obtain necessary details to execute mascot schedule of appearances.
Basically, you’re Swoop’s bitch and his fill-in for nonsensical corporate appearances.
I’d also like to call your attention to
THE WONDERFUL YAK WOMAN, SHE’S UGLY AS SIN BUT A SWEE… um, a couple of other lines from the job posting: the organizational overview and one specific req:
The Philadelphia Eagles are known as one of the more progressive organizations in professional sports and have come to be considered one of the most storied sports franchises in history. As an organization the Philadelphia Eagles is both an exciting and demanding place to work fueled by passion, dedication, and a commitment to the community and the Eagles Youth Partnership.
That’s interesting to read, because this is how the Eagles view themselves. No argument on the progressive organization thing (hello, Mr. Turbine and Mademoiselle Solar Lot), but one of the most storied sports franchises in history? Perhaps we can soften that language to, say,
Gold Standard something that indicates a well-run business that hasn’t yet won anything of value.
Athletic abilities and a creative personality with a good sense of humor a must, along with being in good mental and physical health. Ability to work in extreme heat or cold weather conditions.
I’m not sure if that’s a Sandusky clause or a you better be able to take some guff, kid clause. But basically, you can’t do this:
The now-Lehigh Valley Phantoms have yet another new mascot, this one created by Emperor of Fun and Games Dave Raymond*, the former best friend of the Phanatic.
When the Phantoms moved to Adirondack, they created Dax, named after that guy from TMZ, whose birth was covered here with much snark. He of course replaced Phlex, who was, in case you never noticed, ACTUALLY A PHANTOM. And now we have Melvin.
Look, Melvin here, who’s named after a massive cameltoe, is great, and I truly dig the introduction video** (it’s… cute), but it bothers me when teams with characters in their names divert and go totally off-base with their mascot. Phlex worked, however frightening he was, because he was indeed a phantom. Grooved it down the middle, knocked it out of the park. But what’s the obsession with furry things? It’s the new millennium, haven’t they heard Melvins aren’t supposed to be like that anymore? You’re overthinking this, Flyers minor league affiliate. This one is so easy. Opportunity, missed. Unless… this is misdirection and Phlex will actually be lurking beneath the stands, playing his music of the night on the house organ during stoppages, channeling his true (friendly) PHANTOM spirit.*** In which case: well done, guys.
*Goofy hair. Tail. No pants. It’s no surprise that he takes strong cues from the Phanatic.
**Jim Brooks’ part at 1:15 is painfully awkward and more than a little creepy. It’s almost as if he said, “Hey, I’m the owner and we’re going to show my face, dammit!”
***THAT’S FUCKING WHY THEY PAY ME THE BIG BUCKS. THAT’S A GODDAMN BRILLIANT IDEA.
The Iron Pigs, you may not know, actually have a couple of mascots who run in the so-called Great Pork Race. They are are hotdog (Diggity), a piece of bacon (Chris P. Bacon), and a baked ham (Hambone). Hambone hardly ever wins the race, but he’s in the running for the International League’s best mascot.
The voting is being done over here, and you’ll immediately notice a few things:
1. Hambone is a little terrifying
2. Every other mascot (except one) is basically some kind of animal with a jersey and hat
3. That one without a jersey wears a blazer with no shirt underneath, and I can’t support that
So vote Hambone, because his team has a better win percentage than the Phillies, but just barely. Also, I cannot stress how much I do not stand for wearing no shirt under a blazer. Get your shit together, Lou Seal. Nice name though.