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What the Packers Should Learn From Bedard

What the Packers Should Learn From Bedard

I'm going to miss Greg Bedard. He has been omnipresent in my online media social circle for nearly two years now. His style, commentary, and relentlessness have truly been legendary in the expanding world of social media and digital humanities. Bedard beat everyone to the punch. He beat Wilde, he beat Demovsky, and he is still waiting on McGinn.  This weekend, Packer fans are truly losing a valuable and one-of-a-kind life line to the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers could learn a valuable lesson from Mr. Bedard; engage your fans with eagerness and they in turn will do the same.

It's not that I am down on the Packers organization, but they need to step into the now. As our society finds itself getting closer and closer with technology and one another, the Packers should embrace the change and blaze the trail rather than resist its inevitability. They should take the reigns and set the standard, period.

Today's fan demands transparency and interaction. The online success of Greg Bedard and the JS Online blog are irrefutable proof of that. While the Packers do everything to shut the fans out, Bedard did everything to let the fans in. He wasn't always happy, he didn't sugarcoat anything, and most importantly he told things like they were. That alone demanded respect whether you agreed or not. Packer fans can deal with the news, they just want the truth.

The Packers need to follow Bedard's game plan; tell your fans like it is, let them in, and they in turn will admire you for it.

It's funny because you know the Packers are sitting there thinking that if they let the common fan in, the common fan will take the opportunity to disgrace the team at every turn. In reality, the only reason the common fan is complaining is because they are always kept in the dark and don't know any better.

This effort starts on the podium, continues on the website, and ends in the front office. If you want your fans to continue to support your efforts, you need to engage them, answer their questions truthfully, and in turn I guarantee they will walk away a bigger fan than before.

Something Greg Bedard figured out on day one and something the Packers need to take note of.

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Comments (14)

Dayne's picture

I'll sign the petition to the Packer organization.

I'll miss Bedard.

Shawn's picture

Awesome piece, Alex! Bedard will definitely be missed around here. He kept us honest. Always an even keel.

I will keep following him on Twitter because he is a hell of a journalist.

Phil Hanrahan's picture

Great post, Alex - agree about both Bedard and the Packers org. I remember being surprised in 08 that the Packers org never seemed to fully grasp that my book would be *a good thing* for the team - in love with all things Packers, celebrating Lambeau and Packer-fan culture, making Aaron Rodgers my protagonist, profiling lesser known players like Jordy and Tramon, visiting their home towns, emphasizing the team's national reach (watching Packers-Bears in a Packer bar in Scottsdale, AZ, for example), and basically just spreading the Packers gospel via the first book about the new-era Pack (MM, TT, Rodgers). I made clear the book was not there to "get the dirt" on the Favre fiasco, that it was pro-Packers. Eventually I did get enough cooperation to make the book happen, and Rob Crane in PR (he left last season) ended up being a welcome go-to guy for stuff, but might other teams would have made the process easier, quicker, fuller? The book got excellent reviews ("A+ for Packer fans, A for football fans" from Rick Gosselin at the Dallas Morning News), was well-received by fans, and has sold well. But oddly, you can't get it at the Packers Pro Shop, despite the fact that it celebrates every inch of Lambeau Field, including Curly's Pub. They decided not to stock it. We lobbied; I wrote the store buyer a letter; eventually I even contacted Mark Murphy - no dice. No explanation either. My only theory is that they don't want any Favre reminders on the Lambeau premises - and unavoidably, Favre is in my book's story, obviously. As a general "policy," I can kind of understand where they're coming from, but still - like you say in your post - wouldn't it be better to be a little braver and realize that the Favre reminding (not like fans have forgotten what happened anyway) is WAY outweighed by everything else in the book? It's no contest. Why should fans not be able to pick up a book that features a 30-page chapter telling the story of Aaron Rodgers (the fullest profile in existence), that takes you to Jordy's hometown, and Tramon's, and Kampman's (okay, he's gone, but we still like him), and to Packer bars in Arizona, Mississippi, and all over Wisconsin? It devotes multiple pages to the story of the Neuhaus Family Tailgate, the Neuhaus gang and friends flying in once a year from all over the country. Part of my book's stealth mission to make all football fans want to visit Lambeau once in their lives, and maybe possibly like the Pack a tiny bit even if they're a fan of a division rival. But you can't find it at Lambeau.

PackersThad's picture

Phil, let me take the time to say (again) that you wrote an awesome book and I love reading it again and again. It is a shame that the Packers don´t see the value of your book (yet). One day they will, but I´m glad it sold well!!

Oppy's picture

How much of a cut does the Packers Pro Shop typically get from merchandise sales? Book sales?

Could there have been a dispute between the Packers and your publisher over what they would have liked to pay for the book or make on sales of it?

No disrespect intended, but these are the first things I thought while reading your post. I have no idea how these types of business dealing would even work- I'm not a publisher or a book vendor. But it doesn't seem likely that, as you put it, "they don’t want any Favre reminders on the Lambeau premises" when I can walk into the Packers Pro Shop and buy full-color prints of Favre and all sorts of Favre-centric books right off their shelves as it stands right now.... At least, these things were still available for sale as of my visit during this last Training Camp around early August.

PackersThad's picture

Alex, this is so true. A well written article! The good thing is that one day, I think the Packers will take heed!!

Oppy's picture

Alex,

You are overlooking the fact that Bedard is a reporter and the Packers are a football team. They have completely separate goals, and their success is gauged on separate scales.

Greg Bedard is a sports writer. His job is (was, sniff sniff) to report news surrounding the Green Bay Packers and anything else their fans may find interesting or informative. Interest in his work generates readership. That is how his success is gauged. Reporting information about the Packers will never have a negative effect on his success, or the success of his employer. Being transparent or accessible will never have a negative effect on his success. It will bolster it. He needs people to like his work. People want to read his articles if they are informative, if he is accessible.

The Green Bay Packers are a professional football team. Ultimately, their success is measured by wins. There is quite a bit of information that fans would love to have about the Packers and their players. Their gameplans. Roster dealings. Etc, etc.. Many of those same things are of great interest to their opponents, as well. And, although the fans may "demand transparency", ultimately, they demand wins first and fore most.. Because wins are measuring stick for success for NFL football teams. Not popularity, not readership. People want the Packers to be competitive, to be a winner. The Packers aren't going to divulge any information that they feel gives their opponents any advantage over them...because even if the fans "demand transparency", the Packers know that if that transparency comes at the price of lost victories, they are doing their fans a disservice..

I just recently posted on this back on CHTV.. I'm a fan just like everyone else here, I want detailed info immediately as much as any one else. But I fail to understand how so many people just don't get why the Packers aren't just an open book for the public to peer into. It seems painfully obvious to me.

packerslounge's picture

So they get a pass when they suck too? I'm not asking for the play book.

Oppy's picture

There's no "getting a pass". When they suck, they suck... And, when you think about it, that's when they need to be the most guarded, isn't it? If they were absolutely domination, you could argue (I wouldn't, but you could) that they could afford to toss their competitors a few bones and not worry about it tipping the scales against them.. But when they are struggling, they need to maintain any advantage they can muster.. And that includes keeping their opponents in the dark as much as possible.

You know, there's this really, really successful coach that everyone says is a total dick because of the way he deals with the media- he won't give them a straight answer about ANYTHING that REMOTELY could be advantageous to his rivals- but the fans of the team he coaches wouldn't give him up for the world, realizing that keeping a competitive edge far outweighs transparency. What's his name again? I think he's won a few superbowls.. Oh, yeah, It's Bill Belichick.

Just Sayin.

BubbaOne's picture

One thing Greg did that was great was meeting fans. I met him at Will's Northwoods Inn in Chicago the night before the Packer/Bear game. It was great to kick back, drink Leinenkugel's, and get his honest opinions to questions.
I wish him all the best and hope another writer steps up yo do "meet and greet's".

PackersRS's picture

Here's to Bedard. Salute!!!

Mr.Man's picture

I missed the announcement that Bedard was leaving the state. Does anyone know where he's headed?

PackersRS's picture

Boston Globe

foundinidaho's picture

I miss Greg. *sniff*

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