After I finished my last piece, I realized that something else was not sitting right (and I still don't fully understand why): Butler's emphasis on fans.
Fans are important and vital to the success of sport. This is not because if teams do not attract fans they will fold (see the
Florida Miami Marlins, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Jacksonville Tebows Jaguars and others). Fans are catered to because they come to games and spend money. They are courted because they watch games and generate money via advertising. It is disingenuous on some level to discuss cultivating a fan base without admitting that the end result of fans, largely (in American sport) is the financial benefits of that population.
So how does this translate to Magic coverage? Coverage (and ancillaries like Walk the Planes) are supposed to make going to Magic events sound awesome. Attending events and spending money on cards is one way Wizards makes money. However, they do not sell advertising in the same volume that televised sports do. Instead, recently, they have increasingly advertised a life style.
I think that to cultivate a population of fans, they need to do more in this area.
Caveat once more of "we have enough money to do this."
Forget about "event hotel." Wizards should strive to have a standing partnership with a hotel chain so that while advertising next month's Grand Prix, the hotel information can be there. Hotels want to make money also, so become the "hotel of gamers" and have tables ready for drafts. We will love you.
Similarly, have an official airlines that gets advertised similarly (one with Wi-Fi please). Advertising these in tandem with the GP provides an important link - I want to go there and now I have a way to do just that!
Big dreams, I know.
Wizards should also make efforts to advertise their events (Grand Prix, Pro Tours, and others) on sites like Kotaku, io9, and other "geek" sites. These pages are starting to get preview cards and have a wide audience- it makes sense to advertise the broadcasts there as well to try and cultivate the fan base more.
These are just some more free floating thoughts that came to me, so I wanted to put them out there for consumption. Again, big dreams, but this could be the big leap from "viewer" to "gamer" and translate fan into player.