By ALAN SNEL
Jim Braun is not just a sports fan. The diehard Washington State Cougars fan also made a living in sports by working as a 15-year veteran in external athletic sales and marketing, licensing, and revenue generation. Braun has a masters degree from Washington State in athletic administration.
This is Braun’s third time living in Vegas. Braun and his wife moved back in 2010 to support a small business, and he left in ’2012 to work with IMG. Braun returned in 2013.
“I love the Washington State Cougars. Everything else is secondary, but follow college football and basketball religiously. I’ll be glued to the TV for that Wednesday night MACtion between Toledo v. Ball State,” Braun said.
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Let’s dive in with the questions.
QUESTION 1What do you think of the new UNLV logo? It’s taken a lot of heat. Should UNLV keep it? Acknowledge it’s not the greatest and do a do-over?ANSWERI see/saw a couple issues with this new logo, starting first with what seemed like a secret logo change with little to no input from Rebel fans. In my experience when doing a re-branding, it was always important to give the perception that this is an inclusive process, whether it is done through a online campaign, a ‘decision made by peers of our fans’ etc to avoid the type backlash Rebel leadership received.The other issue I saw was that the logo was created out of state. Why would a firm from Colorado be hired to do this and at the rumored $50k rate? Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world and I am certain the university could have found a local firm that would have donated the work as a gift in kind to the department. Plus the athletic department was running at a $3.5 million (I think) deficit, why would they feel the need to make this change right now?Finally, because of the secrecy of the logo’s creation, I am curious as to the fallout from all uses of the old logo, such as license plates. The alumni association promotes this program and changing license plates seems to be an expensive proposition for the state to undertake.
Question 2What do you think of the Golden Knights’ tour of their TV markets in Montana, Idaho and Utah and their attempt to be the NHL team of the Rockies?ANSWERThis is such a great question. I think I’d be more concerned that Root Sports is not currently on the dial with Cox Las Vegas. Reminds me of the Mountain (MWC TV network) not aligned with Cox, which was the cable provider in the conferences largest TV markets, Las Vegas and San Diego. With that said, I helped build the radio and TV market for the Montana State Bobcats while with Learfield so I have an understanding of the process. I think there is value within those states of grabbing onto potential fans for the Knights. Seahawks, Broncos, Jazz, Mariners, all have a tremendous following for those within the Inland Empire or Eastern WA/Northern ID, as well as Montana and Southern Idaho.Question 3Will a new minor league soccer team survive the hot summers of Vegas? How should the owner market this team? Will young people socializing in downtown Las Vegas buy into going to a soccer game at Cashman?
AnswerI’m actually trying to get involved with this group. I had to reschedule a visit with the team president to later this upcoming week.Talking with some colleagues running the Cincinnati USL team, I believe this will definitely work. Soccer has a finite time commitment. You bring up an excellent point that the neighborhood isn’t the most desired, but if done right, the masses can overtake a poor home stadium exterior. The team just needs to realize that what is outside is as important as what is on the inside. It can be done.