A response to Tom Garfinkel's Q&A

Bill Center just did a Q&A with Padres COO Tom Garfinkel. 

Everyone agrees this is a 'breakfast town'

You know what bothers me most about this Q&A.  There is a disconnect between the Padres marketing and what fans actually want. 

Tom Garfinkel is a fan expert not a Padres fan.  He's a fan of rebranding teams and then moving on. He'll be a fan of whoever you pay him to be a fan of.  You want a NASCAR fan?  Cut Garfinkel a check.  Diamondback fan?  Pull out a wad of bills.  Padres fan?  Eggs, over easy, side of hash browns and bacon.  Breakfast is all it takes to make a Padres fan. 

How long has Garfinkel been in San Diego? A few weeks?  He can definitively say that this is a "breakfast town"?  I've lived here all my life. Never once have I ever heard it referred to as a "breakfast town" and for some reason it annoys me that this is what a fan expert takes away from his research.

He talks about increasing Season Ticket Holders immediately and everyone knows that the easiest (and hardest) way to do that is to get a winning team, but it really seems like that's not a realistic goal, so instead they'll focus on perks.  It's crazy to think that season ticket sales are going to increase any time the team is playing this poorly.

Why would fans invest in Season Tickets when the owners won't invest in the team? The team payroll dropped by half and the wins from 2007 to 2008 dropped 40%.  The 55% renewal rate for season tickets sounds about right to me.  The fan perks are nice but those are short term fixes.

Q: I've been told you don't like the term Friars.

A: I wouldn't say I dislike it. We're the Padres. We should refer to ourselves as the Padres. Friars is part of our history. But in formal settings, in the broadcast booth, in releases, we should be the Padres. The Swinging Friar is part of our history.

Doesn't he have something more important to do than try and change the way we talk about our team?  They're lucky anybody is talking about them at all.  Fans love to refer to the team as the Friars. If it's a part of the history, and the fans like it then it SHOULD be part of the way the team is referenced. Not the other way around.  This is not the kind of rebranding that we need.

Q: Could we see a change in uniforms? A lot of fans don't like the present uniforms.

A: We can't change anything for 2010. The potential for adjustments beyond that, we're open-minded. The fans seem to like the traditional brown-and-yellow in terms of merchandise sales. I think it's part of our brand, part of our history. We might be looking toward some of the more traditional themes. The name of the city on the road uniform and the name of the team on the home uniform. Some like the very first Padres colors of red, white and blue. It fits with the city and our connection with the military.

Personally, I wish we could just go back to the old brown and yellow uniforms, not a new version of the old uniforms. Don't break something that isn't broken.  Fans like that connection to their past.  Moorad said in a Fan Q&A that he didn't want to change the colors, so we'll see who wins that battle. I hope we don't end up looking like the Diamondbacks.

Q: What might season-ticket holders see?

A: More value included. That could include special concession lines

Maybe they can get segregated bathrooms and water fountains too.  Isn't the Toyota Terrace elitist enough? Let's bring a better experience to all fans.

I like all the quirky give aways.  I like the theme nights.  I like the 5 for $5. I like the perk of meeting with players.  I like the promotions, but when it comes down to it we need quality baseball or all the of this stuff is meaningless.

I feel like these new guys are just recycling ideas they had in Arizona or trying to create their own traditions while trying to convince us that it's what we want.  Nobody asked for "breakfast town".

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