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Archive for Wednesday, August 26, 1992

MARKETING IDEA STRIKES KU GRAD IN HOSPITAL ROOM

August 26, 1992

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Light bulbs flashed in Jim Huntington's head as he woke up in the hospital recovery room last Dec. 30.

"I know people will find it hard to believe, but the idea came to me out of nowhere, right after I had ACL surgery," said Huntington who, like former Kansas great Danny Manning, had knee surgery to correct a tear in an anterior cruciate ligament.

"I was released New Year's Day. When I went home, my wife set up a card table and I started writing my plans. I've been working solid for eight months," added Huntington, a 1967 KU grad.

Huntington and his buddy, Hal Goss, have acted on his brainstorm marketing tapes of 10 basketball games during the 1992-93 season.

THEIR COMPANY Home Court also is offering for sale a Roy Williams basketball camp video, plus a Hawk Watch video. In the 45-minute Hawk Watch tape, KU coach Williams uses a "tellustrator" in explaining plays from last season.

"Kansas basketball is the product," Huntington said simply.

While he and Goss hope to sell plenty of camp and "tellustrator" videos, their main baby is the 10-game package of games.

Brochures with costs are available at the Allen Fieldhouse ticket office or by writing Huntington at Home Court Productions, Inc., Box 8315, Shawnee Mission, 66208-0315.

Games offered are North Carolina State, Wichita State, Iowa State, Colorado (2), Oklahoma State, Missouri, Kansas State, plus the Big Eight and BMA tournaments.

Those games will be seen on the Jayhawk network. The tapes, however, will include pre- and post-game quotes from Williams, plus halftime features.

"I DON'T EXPECT everybody in the Kansas City area to buy the 10-game package because the games are on the tube," he said. "But a lot of people of different generations are not able to get the Jayhawk Network. With our package, they'll have a tape in their hands in one to four days after the game.

"I was transferred to Pennsylvania when Danny Manning was a sophomore. Occasionally, somebody would send me a tape, but I really missed seeing the Jayhawks."

He thinks Williams' quotes, plus a free gift a tape of Williams talking about his recruiting philosophies and KU's incoming players will entice locals to buy the package.

"We'll have nice graphics, some music and they'll be free of commercials," he said. "Plus the athletic department and Alumni Assn. will benefit. When I did work with Raycom and Creative Sports Inc., they said they were very intrigued by it. They said nothing this extensive had been done before."

He said Williams and KU athletic director Bob Frederick have been supportive. In fact, letters from both come with the order form, encouraging fans to buy.

"IT'S BEEN fabulous," Huntington said of working with KU. "A business start-up is a fragile thing. There have been some high highs and low lows. The toughest thing has been selling an unknown.

"Having had 22 years of senior merchandising experience and marketing experience (with an apparel company), I've never sold something that didn't exist, where somebody never heard of you. But I'm very encouraged so far. Orders are coming in."

Huntington has been thorough. He's mailed his brochure to KU alums, has taken out ads in the media and will have an ad in an alumni publication which should reach 37,000 homes.

If orders keep coming in, he says it's possible he could expand to KU football in the future.

"I've registered the name `Home Field' for football. But we need to wait and see, take one at a time," he said.

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