Darren Rovell: Denver Nuggets don't get credit they deserve
AURORA, CO – If one watches Darren Rovell for a few minutes, one thing becomes immediately apparent.
The 41-year-old is constantly checking his phone, on an almost minute-by-minute basis. He’s making sure he’s not getting beat on leads and keeping his substantial social media following – over two million on Twitter – well informed. It is a significant reason why he is largely considered the leading insider on all sports business matters. Rovell was in the Denver Metropolitan area on Friday as the keynote speaker at the KSE Partner Summit, sharing his insights on how sponsors of the Nuggets, Avalanche and Mammoth can grow their brands organically.
After several brainstorming sessions at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, Rovell was gracious enough to speak with Nuggets.com for the latest edition of Five Questions. The former ESPN broadcaster, who is now the leading voice on the Action Network, shared his insights on the Nuggets as a brand and more.
Here are his thoughts:
[Editor's Note: Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity purposes]
Considering the success the Nuggets had last season, what are your thoughts on the team’s brand overall?
I think the Nuggets brand is extremely strong locally. It's amazing how hard it is to get attention in the West. What is great is that people here [in Denver] know how good they are…The team is very good, and I feel like they don't, the players when they have great games don't get the credit that they deserve. I think the Nuggets should be more national -- their home record was ridiculous. They don't get the credit. It's not a problem, I think it’s a chip on their shoulder thing. I feel like they don't care. The players [they have] aren't the type who need [individual] accolades. They just need the wins.
The Nuggets were in a good enough position where they didn't need to do the big leap. They didn't need to do what the Lakers did or the Nets did. It puts a lot of pressure on you when you're making big signings. [The Nuggets have] done an incredible job of getting players who might not have been, -- obviously they have a foreign contingent -- might not have been as heralded. They've gotten great value from what they've done. Then you look at [what they’ve done in] the draft -- oh my God.
How important is it to have two global stars in Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray in a commercial and marketing sense?
It's very important to have Jokić and Murray because those guys get your brand out there. The Nuggets haven't been an international type brand [before] and I think Jokić does a lot [for the team's global appeal] because of how he's performing. Europe is so important in general to the [NBA] fanbase. As the world gets smaller, having an international player who can dominate is kind of becoming the norm...There's a big chance to spread the brand.
What can the Nuggets do to expand their brand?
I think the goal is to get as far as possible. The Nuggets' biggest [moment as a] national brand was when they beat Seattle in the No. 8 vs. No. 1 matchup, where [Dikembe] Mutombo was on the floor. That was a big national moment. In order to do that [again], they have to figure out...they have to reach the Conference [Finals]. That's where the rubber meets the road.
What did you think of the Nuggets’ decision to rebrand, especially with the Skyline jerseys they launched last season?
The skyline jerseys are [great], in 1991 as a kid in Long Island I had go to the Champion outlet to figure out if I could buy one. It was amazing, the colors are amazing. So, I think that was the right move [bringing back the Skyline jerseys]. I think we're always screaming 'Get us back to where that was.' I think a lot of people are happy with that.
Finally, what do you think about the marketability of the Nuggets’ rookies in Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol?
You look at Bol Bol and two years ago, he was going to be the No. 1 person in the draft. To be able to get him in the second round as far down as the Nuggets got him, I think you had to take him. Michael Porter...he was supposed to be the No. 1 pick in the draft -- there's a lot of potential there. The Nuggets had to take both players in that spot and there's so much upside there.