New York Knicks Prepare Themselves for a Rebranding

Some changes are in the works to make the team more appealing to its fan base

Knicks at MSG
Jean-Baptiste Bellet/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / February 9, 2020 1:28 pm

It’s a tough time to be a New York Knicks fan. The team itself has chronically underperformed over the last few seasons. Their cross-town rivals the Brooklyn Nets have emerged as a more appealing destination for high-profile players. Their owner has been the target of hecklers calling for him to sell the team. And they recently traded their best player. What’s next for this troubled franchise?

Based on a new article by Sopan Deb at The New York Times, the answer is a kind of rebrand. The team has hired Steve Stoute’s agency Translation to help with “brand positioning” and to better connect with its fan base.

Stoute has a long history of high-powered connections and establishing unexpected partnerships, including bringing together Dapper Dan and Gucci. And he’s already a firm advocate for the Knicks — the Times article opens with him declaring that “[t]he New York Knicks are the premier global brand in basketball, period.”

The article doesn’t have much in the way of specifics, but offers a few general ideas for where Stoute’s influence might be felt.

[Stoute] convinced the Knicks executives that the team could do more to connect with fans. Stoute was vague about his plans but suggested that a change in social media strategy was coming.

As Deb notes, an improved communications and marketing strategy can’t address the needs of the team on the court. But a more engaged fanbase can both inspire existing players and help create a more inviting atmosphere. Given the team’s woes as of late, a change in direction can’t hurt.

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