The Future’s Bright?

This week Paul Balm hopes that a bright orange bus helps lead to a more stable future for the Steelers if used properly.

You might have noticed that Sheffield Steelers have a new coach. You’ll certainly know who it belongs to when you see it. It seems in Sheffield the future is bright, if only because the future is orange. The new coach and the Jodie Marsh coloured vinyl wrap it comes in might not be the be all and end all that some think it’ll be but, if used correctly, it could be a very positive step forward for the Yorkshire team. It has to be used correctly though. If not, it’ll be more little more than an orange elephant.

The key question in all this is usage. I understand that the Steelers hope to use the coach for a number or marketing/promotional events throughout the year and that’s what they need to do if they’re going to get any real benefit from this sponsorship. There’d be little point using it simply for transporting the team to away games as they’d get very little benefit from the advertising on the outside. Having Steelers plastered all over the side of your bus is great in Dronfield, Totley, Dore or Brightside but how long are they going to be in what you could call their “catchment area” for on away trips? The average inhabitant of Fife doesn’t know or care who the Steelers are and a big orange bus isn’t going to change that. It isn’t likely to make them want to go and see the Flyers either but that’s a different matter.

B.O.B. (big orange bus) can be a great advertising tool for the Steelers but it has to be out there in the community as often as possible. If I were the Steelers (and the sponsor) I’d want the bus out there as much as possible, not just at promotional/marketing events but also doing the day to day stuff that coaches do. This obviously has its issues but the pros and cons need to be weighed up.

Of course, B.O.B.’s main purpose will be to make it easier for us to work out whose bus has got a parking ticket outside the arena after a game.

I may have my reservations about B.O.B. (I wonder how many Sheffield fans have said that in the past) but then again I’ve had my reservations about a lot of the stories that have come out of South Yorkshire in the past. Reservations that you may not agree with but which are, I feel, utterly justifiable. The B.O.B. news is another in a long line of positive stories emanating from the Motorpoint Arena and it certainly looks like they’re heading in the right financial direction following what seems like a decade of instability. And that’s the problem. We’ve heard all these stories before. We’ve heard about exciting sponsorship deals, about how secure the team is (we’ll leave out the who’s rejected who stories because, as I proved the other, week there’s no real substance in them) only for the team to be on its uppers with owners and previous owners bickering in public a fortnight later. I want to believe that these stories can be taken at face value but why should I? If I told you Khartoum was the capital of France you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t, it’s not) believe me so why does being the owner of the Sheffield Steelers make what I say different. Ok, it puts me in a lot better position to make the claims that they made but that could be said for the previous owners who have made the same kind of statements when they knew (or should have known) that they were not true.

Don’t get me wrong the only people I expect to say they’re in dire straits are Mark Knopfler and the Coventry Blaze (what a difference eight months can make) and I’m fully aware that we’re only ever told what those telling us either want to say or think we want to hear, but that has bred a fairly large amount of cynicism in me when it comes to the statements of some people.

Having said all that the adage of the boy who cried wolf rings as true as the one about not tarring people with the same brush and I’m still prepared to listen to what the Steelers have to say, I just want the chance to form my own opinion about it and not have it rammed down my throat as the truth simply because someone says so.

1 Response to “The Future’s Bright?”

  1. 1 Mick Chambers August 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Seeing the bus about outside Sheffield at least puts the sport on the map.
    I thought Nottingham might have beaten them to this by now but hey, we’ll probably have one too soon and say that it was in the pipeline like the ‘Behind the scenes’ videos each say they where doing first……

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