Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Would you be interested in sponsoring our professional basketball team?" Israel Professional Baseball League refuses sponsor; no ball in 2008

They’re not saying it’s over, and they may want us to think it ain’t over til it’s over, but because of what they’re not saying— and the way they’re not saying it-- it’s very clear that the Israel Professional Baseball League’s hopes for the summer of 2008 are definitely over.

Tabloid Baby has learned exclusively that despite recent player tryouts, sponsorship advertising and a wall of silence and stubborn obsfucation that rivals that of the Israel Baseball League from which it sprang, the corporate entity behind the IPBL is refusing offers of sponsorship and sending potential investors to the amateur Israel Association of Baseball-- and a basketball team!

The evidence comes from the publicists for our pals at Frozen Pictures, who are launching a worldwide publicity campaign for their film The Seventh Python.

“First of all, the reason I approached the IPBL is because they’re advertising for sponsors on their website,” says Sam Peters (right) of Good Story Productions, which does publicity for Frozen (Full Disclosure: Sam has also contributed to this site). “The production of the film and the great scandal of the IBL have progressed simultaneously and because of our web connections with TB, we thought it would be great fun to have Python sponsor an IPBL team.

"Think about it: The Petach Tikva Pythons, Bet Shemesh Bonzos, Ra’anana Rutles, Netanya Neils, Tel Aviv Ducks, Modi’in Idiots— I mean, imagine the team with a Duck logo-- or even Quacksie hats! Any one of those would get us ink around the globe.

“But when I wrote to the IPBL, I couldn’t get a straight answer. They refused to tell me whether or not they’ll play this summer. Then they tried to send me to their basketball team—until they finally referred me to the Israel Association of Baseball, who’ve offered us advertising on the Israel National Team.

Tabloid Baby has obtained the emails exclusively, charting Peters' correspondence with Andrew Wilson, the former IBL communications manager who’s now marketing representative for the IPBL.

After the initial exchange of emails in which Wilson was unclear about whether the IPBL would be in business this summer, Sam wrote:

“Chief among our priorities is having our sponsorship promoted on Israel ballfields this summer (we are promoting a film that will have a summer release). We understand that the Israel Baseball League is on a hiatus, so we had to pass there, but if your league will be playing this summer, we can move forward…”

Andrew Wilson replied:

“Hi Sam,

“Would you be interested in sponsoring our professional basketball team, Maccabi Haifa Heat? We are currently in the semi-finals of the playoffs and are packing Romema arena in Haifa. We are on our way to being promoted to the Premier League, the highest level of competition in Israel. The playoffs will be going on for another month (into June) in Israel.

“We have signage/banner opportunities, PA announcements, website banner advertisements. Haifa is the third largest city in Israel and our fans are supporting the team every home game. This would be an excellent way to promote the summer release of your movie…”

Sam replied:


“All the opportunities you list would work out very well for our project, but the basketball milieu will not suit the summer, "take me out to the ballgame" image we seek. Need we sponsor an individual baseball team or can our film be a league sponsor-- with signage and banners through the season?

“Or should I take it from your reply that there will not be a baseball season? If that is the case, do you know if there is a semi-pro league in Jerusalem or among major cities?”

Andrew Wilson replied:

“Hi Sam,

“I do know some of some amateur baseball leagues in Israel that might be able promote your movie. I have copied Haim Katz and Peter Kurz both whom are in charge of the Israel Association of Baseball (IAB).

“Please be in touch with them regarding a possible baseball sponsorship opportunity.

“Best Regards,

Andrew Wilson

Marketing Representative
Triangle Financial Services, LLC”

Haim Katz of the IAB (Israel baseball’s governing body) responded within the hour, offering sponsorship opportunities with the Israel’s national team and junior teams.

The bottom line: The IPBL is finished—and in a very disappointing, disingenuous manner.

Back in November 2007, as financial questions, federal lawsuits and a bunker defense that saw its founder throw up the mattresses not only against the world but the ones who toiled so hard in his name toppled the nascent Israel Baseball League, the announcement that a group of IBL investors and players was forming a rival Israel Professional Baseball League seemed a breath of fresh air.

But in the months since, the nabobs connected with the league, from Miami millionaire Magnetix maven Jeff Rosen to player-attorney Alan Gardner, have been suprisingly secretive and arrogant about the state of their operation and their plans, despite tryouts that charged hopefuls $25 a head and a promise on its website that it would be “contacting players regarding their status by no later than the end of April” to let all potential players know whether they’d be called into action.

Rosen’s rude responses to Our Man Elli in Israel’s simple questions don’t reflect well on the IPBL’s future or intentions from its homebase far away in Miami.

In this case, their silence speaks volumes.

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