A sports team can be marketed by “selling wins” (the team is successful and wins lots of games) or by “selling hope” (the team is playing younger players, will soon add another high draft choice, and has the potential to become a very good team). “‘A team can sell one of two things: wins or hope,’ said a Western Conference general manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity” was cited in the New York (NY) Times in 2002, in an article about the Knicks basketball team.
Kevin O’Neill, coach of the Toronto Raptors (2003-2004), has often been credited with “You’re either selling wins or you’re selling hope.”
New York (NY) Times
PRO BASKETBALL; Knicks Are Off Their Game, and the A-List
This article was reported by Alan Feuer, Seth Schiesel and Mike Wise and was written by Mr. Feuer
Published: November 18, 2002
The Knicks are not the worst team in the N.B.A.—the Memphis Grizzlies are 0-10—but they could be in the worst predicament.
‘’A team can sell one of two things: wins or hope,’’ said a Western Conference general manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘’If you have a veteran team with a high payroll, you’re selling wins. And if you’re playing young guys, you’re selling hope.’’
6 July 2005, Toronto (Ontario) Star, “Raptors offer fans the hottest ticket in town” by Dave Feschuk, pg. D1:
Kevin O’Neill, the former Raptors coach, once said of NBA marketing “You’re either selling wins or you’re selling hope.”
September 8, 2005
GM has nothing to sell
Babcock has Raps going nowhere
By Steve Simmons
And as former Raptors coach Kevin O’Neill used to say, you’re either selling wins or you’re selling hope, but in this case Babcock is selling neither. And if you’re not selling hope when you’re losing, what are the fans supposed to believe in?
June 30, 2010
Kevin Pritchard’s Tenure
by Kevin Pelton
During his time with the Toronto Raptors, USC coach Kevin O’Neill was fond of the phrase, “You’re either selling wins or you’re selling hope,” which I happen to think is the pithiest way anyone has ever explained the concept of the success cycle.
Sactown Royalty (Sacramento Kings)
What Are You Selling?
By Greg Wissinger on Feb 22, 2013, 10:30a
Basketball teams are either selling wins or selling hope. The Thomas Robinson trades helps neither cause.
An old phrase in sports is that you’re either selling wins or you’re selling hope. It’s been a long time since the Kings could be sold on wins.