On Wednesday evening we attended the Pistons‘ first Social Media Night event at the Palace. Mike submitted our blog a few weeks prior and we were one of the lucky to be chosen. Despite reports of upwards of 10” of snow and the Pistons pulling out all their moves to lure fans to the game fearing low attendance we made it to the Palace of Auburn Hills in one piece.
Once we arrived at the Palace, we checked in with the PR staff, received our credentials and headed to the Champion’s Club, a VIP lounge located within the bowels of the arena. Starting at $35 per person, fans were able to buy a ticket to the game, a social media t-shirt and entrance into the meet and greet with forward Jonas Jerebko. Following a myriad of photo-ops and autograph requests from the fans, Jerebko took a few minutes to field questions from us bloggers who were on hand. Personable and relaxed, he makes for an excellent ambassador for the team—especially given the rock star-like following he has from Viking-horned fans.
If you haven’t been to our Pistons tab, below is video footage of our questions being answered by Jerebko:
We were then whisked upstairs to our suite, which was replete with Pistons Yearbooks and social media swag. We were given press access to the wireless network inside the arena bowl, which allowed us to provide live updates and instantly upload videos and photographs to the site.
Mike on his laptop in the suite © Woodward Spine 2011
As far as the game itself is concerned, it was a typical showing from this Pistons squad. After a lethargic first half in which they shot under 40 percent and were outrebounded 28-16, they mounted a nice comeback, which saw them claim the lead and the command of the game. However, the Bobcats snuffed them out early in the 4th quarter with a 16-1 run from which they built an 18-point cushion. The Pistons were able to slice the lead back to 7, but it was too little, too late.
Coming into the game, they were a mere 3.5 games behind the Bobcats for the 8th and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. While hardly a benchmark accomplishment, it’s a step in the right direction for this crestfallen franchise that undoubtedly could use revenue generated from playoff sales. If they end up on the outside of the playoff picture, this loss at home to Charlotte will prove to be one of the biggest blows.
Lower-level hallway to press conference room © Woodward Spine 2011
After the game, we shuffled downstairs for a post-game press conference with forward Charlie Villanueva. He said that while it was a tough loss, they have to put it behind them and focus on the next game at hand. He was visibly deflated and one can only assume that the mounting losses, along with the Rip Hamilton circus and unsettled ownership have to be taking their toll. Nonetheless, it was still cool that he took part in the event and answered all of our questions.
Charlie Villanueva taking questions from bloggers after the game © Woodward Spine 2011
Overall, I applaud the Pistons organization for their proactivity in launching Social Media Night. Even with the team’s struggles, any publicity is good for the franchise so it’s nice that they’re embracing the social web chatter, rather than rejecting it. To be brought into the media fold for a game, even if on a limited basis, gave us an interesting vantage point into some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the team.
There were a few kinks in the night, which can easily be excused considering this was their first go-round with this promotion. The meet and greet with Jerebko was delayed by 15 minutes or so, which, as a result meant that our session with reporters Heather Zara and Keith Langlois was sacrificed. Also, early e-mails didn’t specify information regarding ticket pick-up and laptop limitation but were sorted out once we arrived. These little hurdles weren’t anything big and the night was flawless once the game began. We hope that this event becomes an annual occurrence for the Pistons’ organization and look forward to other opportunities to work with the Pistons in future.
– MF & JB