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									         MARSHALL LAGER,
         MARCH’S CHIEF BALLIN’ OFFICER




Pint of View
March Madness
        Are betting pools the office worker’s lottery ticket, or a security blanket?
I T ’ S B E E N A W H I L E since we last explored the concept of      Team sports generate such loyalty that fans might volun-
loyalty on this page. I’m not questioning your loyalty, of          tarily break the law to better enjoy a team’s performance.
course—it’s always gratifying to have readers tell me they turn     They scalp tickets and gamble on games as though either
here as soon as their issues of CRM arrive in the mail. Thanks      were a right (and maybe both should be, but that’s another
for the support; the checks are in the mail, and there’s more to    matter)—and they steal from their employers by using work
come as long as you keep talking me up to my editors.               hours for the gambling and ticket buying. Harsh, but true.
   It’s no surprise that professional and college sports generate      Loyalty to a sports team is like your customers’ loyalty to
a lot of loyalty among fans—in a very real sense, loyalty           your brand. If you haven’t instilled in them a measure of
defines fandom. We—boys especially, but it’s becoming much          rabid devotion, you’re not doing your job. In fact, it may
more universal—are trained from the crib to root-root-root          even make your job easier: That loyalty allows customers to
for the home team; after all, if they don’t win it’s a shame,       deliver a modicum of service to each other without any help
right? Holidays and weekends are filled with sports on TV, dis-     from you, and bolsters your ability to provide better service
cussions of sports by our older siblings and relatives, and even    to an audience perhaps more willing to forgive a brief or
tickets to games. Kids’ early memories are cluttered with cute      minor hiccup.
little uniforms, as well as cute little balls and bats and other       Since it’s March now, let’s focus on one particular sport:
sports equipment. Some of my juvenile kit included a football       college basketball, and the NCAA’s annual championship
helmet, shoulder pads, and boxing gloves. The helmet was                  tournament known as March Madness. At any business
for the New York Giants, but the boxing gloves helped lead                  with more than one staffer, there’s a fair chance
me to a lifelong fandom for the Oakland Raiders. (A                          there’s a betting pool going. You probably know the
casual examination of the Raiders’ annual penalty yards                       guy (or girl) passi
								
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