Dishin & Swishin 4/25/13 Podcast: Mercury President Amber Cox discusses “Grinermania” and its hold on Phoenix
The Phoenix Mercury knew the player they were getting when they won the lottery for the 2013 WNBA draft. At 6-8 and a dominant presence on both ends of the court, Brittney Griner was an easy fit alongside the Mercury’s All-Stars, Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree.
What they did not know they were getting was a charming, smiling young woman that was ready to come out of the college cocoon, publicly embracing being a member of the LGBT community, and become a phenomenon, not only in Phoenix but nationally.
Amber Cox, the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Mercury joins Dishin & Swishin this week to discuss Grinermania, the marketing of a new star, and promoting a team that has won before, and wants to win again – now.
With Taurasi, Taylor and Dupree injured, the 2012 Mercury saw the emergence of DeWanna Bonner as a star, plus the debut of last year’s top draft choice Samantha Prahalis as successes, but their record was a disaster, finishing only ahead of Washington in the overall WNBA standings. The ping pong balls bounced right for them, however, and those returning stars will have Griner to back them up on defense and help them on offense.
Cox has a team in place to maximize the exposure in the area for the Mercury, because as nice a person and player Griner may be, if it does not translate into ticket and merchandise sales, it will not matter.
You have already seen the 77-foot tall banner of Griner, and the re-naming of First Street in her honor. Griner has appeared with the Diamondbacks, tooled around the city in a Porsche, signed a deal with Nike for even more exposure and has appeared on just about every television network in Arizona. Yet there is more on the horizon.
Still, listening to Cox, it is clear that she recognizes that Griner is a rookie, and she has on the Mercury one of the greatest players in the world in Taurasi. Anyone who felt Taurasi and the others would be swept under the carpet by Grinermania is clearly mistaken, at least to the people that matter the most, the management of the Phoenix Mercury.
Cox discusses all of this, the way last year’s injury bug was handled publicly, the problem of player’s playing year round, altering your marketing plans when your phenom suddenly creates a national media story with her publicly coming out, and a lot more.
Get a look inside the world of a team president and more.
Enjoy the podcast!