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Dimitriou: ‘Like A Fox’

Having endured centuries of conflict, survival and persecution, the Mashantucket Pequots were nearly killed off their traditional homelands in southeastern Connecticut. The Pequot adopted the name, The Fox People, as a symbol of an ability to adapt quickly to new environments, survive horrible conditions, and remain vigilant protectors of their families in lifelong monogamous relationships.

As the first Native people within the borders of the continental United States to suffer an attempted genocide by Puritan colonists in 1637, the repatriation of the Pequots is an unprecedented story of survival and success exhibited in stunning display through land reclamation, enterprise development and eventual ownership of one of the largest resort casinos in the world. With annual revenues grossing nearly $1 billion, the Pequot have become a powerful profile and now, a loud voice in the sports arena. Inventive Fox!

The last five minutes of most games is often the most valuable time for anyone to get their message across. Fans are glued to their seats, their televisions, their radios and their teams.

Foxwoods Resort Casino has signed a deal to be the exclusive advertiser during the last five minutes of professional basketball and hockey games at Madison Square Garden and basically all things New York including the Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, Devils and Islanders home game broadcasts. Foxwoods says that the “Final Five” sponsorship is the first time an advertiser has bought commercial control of a specific time during professional sports games in the arena as well as on television. Clever Fox!

It is also the latest deal between a casino and sports teams, which attract similar demographic groups, namely men in their 30s and 40s who are willing to spend a lot of money on entertainment. The Phoenix Suns set precedent years ago with its property sponsorship by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and Casino Arizona.

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The Foxwoods deal is worth about $1 million a year for five years, according to an industry executive with an understanding of the agreement. During the last five minutes of home games, Foxwoods’ name and logo will be shown on the scoreboard, on signs courtside and elsewhere in the arena, as mentions in broadcast coverage and logo inclusion on the top or bottom of the screen, and will be superimposed on the glass behind the hockey goals. Calculating Fox!

“You can buy a billboard for X amount a year and get Y amount of views,” said Rob Victoria, the chief marketing officer for Foxwoods. “But with the announcers doing live reads and the stadium full, it’s a way to advertise with more impact.” In addition, because Foxwoods’ sponsorship starts around when the game clock hits the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter or third period, its logo may be seen much longer than five minutes because of timeouts and other stoppages. Astute Fox!

The fox has been celebrated for centuries as a crafty animal – mischievous, smart and tenacious. While a fox’s actions may appear bizarre to the average onlooker, he is often acting in a brilliant manner to save himself. Hence, the age-old saying, “crazy like a fox” an oxymoron meaning seemingly foolish but in fact is extremely cunning.

To my Mashantucket Pequot brothers and sisters, The Fox People, I applaud you. You have endured unforgivable travesties, quietly and courageously, regaining your territory, your dominion and your incredible passion for playing games. So, let’s watch some great sports, and let’s get crazy. … like a Fox!

Patty A. Dimitriou is co-host of KFrye & Girlfriends Talk Sports. Visit www.kfryeandgirl