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Commentary


Cleveland has many champs
Forget the playoffs
by WKSU's PAUL GASTON


Commentator
Paul Gaston
 
In The Region:
When the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs, there were many reasons to feel depressed. Not just the loss of bragging rights but lost opportunities downtown. Hotels. Restaurants. Taxi drivers. WKSU commentator Paul Gaston thinks we lost something else as well, a golden marketing opportunity. But he sees a silver lining.
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When the New Orleans saints won the super bowl, Louisiana wasted no time in reaching out for broader economic dividends. An eye-catching ad in the New York Times proclaimed “the stats don’t lie.” and for every superlative the saints had earned, Louisiana said something about itself. Saints, first in touchdowns scored. Louisiana, first in new jobs and investment. Saints, first in points per game. Louisiana, first in ethics disclosure laws. Saints, first in passing touchdowns. Louisiana. First nuclear module manufacturing facility. You get the picture.
     I had in mind something like that the day after the Cavs would win the NBA championship. Leverage the attention given a winning team in order to draw attention to all the ways in which Cleveland is a number one city. Our chance at last to respond to all the weird so-called studies that find Cleveland too cloudy or too cold or too morose.
     But as I have recovered from the playoff losses, I have realized that the super bowl, as exciting as it was, is now a fading memory. In a few weeks, there will be lots of folks who won’t even be able to tell you who won the NBA. The NFL camps are already starting up and even the saints have it all to do over again.
     And so what would it be like if a city could claim teams that were winners year ‘round? Winners based on something more important than the bounce of a ball. Winners with an even broader fan base than the cav’s.
     Well, as that ad says, the stats don’t lie. Cleveland has winners that aren’t limited to one season. Or to one group of followers. Or to one year, every now and then.
     Here are a few.
     The Cleveland orchestra has fans all over the country and all over the world. year in and year out, performances at home and on the road, from Miami to Vienna, draw cheering supporters.The world is talking about the Cleveland orchestra, as the saying goes. That’s our home team.
     The expanding Cleveland museum of art, which has been growing in size and quality even through the darkest days of the recession, attracts world-wide attention for its collections, for its programs, for its facilities. Through its collaborative exhibits, it also plays on the road. But unlike some other teams, it almost always wins.
     The Cleveland clinic and university hospitals are other home town teams that can claim lots of firsts. Their reputation for innovation and quality brings northeast Ohio favorable attention throughout the world.  But the fans who go through their turnstiles one by one in hope of successful treatment are where the real loyalty lies.
     We could create quite an ad. Mention the rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame. The lake. The park system. The world-class restaurants. And, yes, mention the Indians, the Browns, the Cavs and the colleges and universities.   These all have their fans, and their fans are all over the place.
     There’s a lot here that the world is talking about. We’ve got many winners that keep on winning, season after season, year after year. The stats don’t lie.
     I’m Paul Gaston. 
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