If you weren't at the February member meeting, boy did you miss out! We had Grizzlies' president Jason Wexler as our speaker and host at the FedEx forum, in the beautiful Horseshoe Lounge.
Jason is a true Downtowner. In addition to serving as President of the Grizzlies, he's also, among other things, Chairman of the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority and an investor in the Tennessee Brewery.
Jason gave us a look into what it's like managing the second best franchise in the country, as ranked by ESPN and voted on by fans, and the second strongest brand in the NBA.
Now in their 15th Grizzlies season in Memphis, "business is as strong as it's ever been" says Jason. The season ticket base has gone up for 5 years straight, sponsorships (think Toyota, Methodist and Ford) are at an all time high, and the team is in year 6 of a playoff streak.
What's the secret behind such success?
First, Jason attributes it to a conscious effort to foster tight connections with the Memphis community. It's no conincidence fans have voted the Grizzlies a top 10 franchise for the last 5 years. Voting fans consider connection to the team, affordibility, and value for money, and the Grizzlies have been consistently among the top nationwide. Jason noted efforts to amplify authentic, compelling player voices helped establish the Grit N Grind identiy of the brand - an identity that will continue in perpetuity. Players regularly give back to the community, and half-time shows are productions tailored specifically to Memphians.
Second, he noted significant investments made in the franchise - in players, in infrastructure, and in support staff talent like their new analytics team. He also acknowledged their growth has gone hand in hand with Memphis' revitalization -"It speaks to a change in perception of the city. We've gone from being on all the lists you don't want to be on to all those you do."
Finally, Jason noted the intentionality around continuity. "Continuity and connectivity runs though everything we do." Resigning players for long term contracts and building on prior successes means there aren't dramatic changes from year to year.
He also gave an update on Marc's foot, noting a "class 2 fracture with no displacement." Translation: Marc is expected to make full and complete recovery and be back to normal for next season. #GetWellMarc
Thanks for giving us a window into your world, Jason!