So I get this phone call from a guy named Eric Dinger, CEO of a marketing company called the Thought District. He says his company was selected to create a website for Lincoln’s arena project and he’s looking for ideas as to what should be on the website.
I told him I’d expect to see a listing of all the RFPs (requests for bidders or proposals for arena work), all the winning contractors and contracts, a timeline of arena construction that shows whether it’s on time and some way of measuring whether and how the project is on budget.
What would you like to see?
The news today that a marketing company called CSL beat out media/marketing giant ISG for the gig marketing Lincoln’s arena is actually quite shocking to me.
CSL Marketing Group was chosen to market things such as signage, naming rights, advertising, sponsorships, licensing, premium seating and loge and club seats.
But I think most people expected the winner to be IMG College/Husker Sports Marketing of London and Lincoln. They are, after all, the media mammoth that Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne first got interested in Lincoln’s arena project. At one point, the company was talking about financing the whole arena. Then $75 million of it. Now, nothing.
What happened? I’ll try to find out for you.
It’s not that CSL didn’t have its own connections: The company has done several marketing studies for the city of Lincoln on the viability of a new arena. You know all those studies that were done years ago for the chamber and DLA and the city that said, “Why of course you should build an arena.”
Yeah, that’s the same company. Which is why I was surprised when they ALSO bid on marketing the arena… isn’t that a conflict of interest? To be hired by a city to do a (presumably) independent analysis of whether an arena would be feasible, and then also be hired to market the place?
Maybe I’m missing something. Fill me in.