Local marketing man makes pitch to ‘Shark Tank’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Local marketing consultant Vic Rubenstein just returned from Columbus where he was one of 168 contestants to audition for ABC TV’s hit show, “Shark Tank.”

The show enables entrepreneurs to pitch products and creative concepts to some of America’s wealthiest and most successful business persons who determine if the idea is investment worthy.

Rubenstein developed the “ProSports Hall of Fame®” concept over the past three-and-a-half years through study and significant market research. He believes the idea has a “50/50 shot” of making it on national television, according to a news release.

“I believe it has merit and is a great concept, particularly for our sports-crazed Mahoning Valley,” Rubenstein said in the release. “Whether the producers feel it has audience appeal is quite another thing.”

The ProSports Hall of Fame® is envisioned as a bricks and mortar facility designed to enshrine the truly great athletes in all sport segments who have been denied access to their respective halls of fame. He accepts that there are sundry logical reasons many have been deprived of enshrinement, but stresses there are also many arbitrary causes why great professional athletes have been divested of this enduring memorial.

“There’s reasonable justification” Rubenstein said “and now, perhaps, an opportunity to highlight their achievements and at the same time share the details of either their rejection or absence of consideration by their respective halls.”

Using this balanced approach to showcasing some of America’s greatest athletes, the PSHF Group has adopted the theme “The Rest of the Story!” He emphasizes that Americans love, cherish, follow and remember their favorite athletes and that professional sports is a $422 billion annual industry.

“I can assure you that the enshrinement of greats such as Pete Rose, Roger Maris, Bo Jackson, Dave Dravecky, Tyrone Curtis “Muggsy” Bogues, Hideo Nomo, Alex Karas and hundreds of others would attract fans from all over America to a site I hope winds up in either Mahoning or Trumbull County.”

The annual selection of inductees will be internet-based and fan-driven. Rubenstein believes Pete Rose will be among those first chosen and feels his induction will draw a quarter-of-a-million fans to the site of the ProSports Hall of Fame® in its first year.

Although communities throughout America will be invited to bid on the location, Rubenstein favors and will advocate for the Mahoning Valley, believing he can help develop the best package for the for-profit venture.

“Frankly, we have very few points of selected destination, here, and this would draw visitors from all over America and would be an incredible economic force for our Valley,” Rubenstein said.

He also said the contiguous location of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame offer a tremendous “triple play” opportunity to attract visitors.

The bulk of the hall of fame’s primary investment and income is derived from naming rights, sponsorships, promotional ventures, co-branding initiatives, television rights, merchandising and admissions, thus the initial investment is surprisingly low.

“I think it’s a no-brainer,” Rubenstein says. “Major industrial and consumer-based corporations and associations spend billions in non-traditional branding initiatives annually.” He repeats that consumers, business and industry generated more than $400 billion in 2013 in the professional sports sector.

In citing some of the differences of the ProSports Hall of Fame®, he points to the for profit status, fan-based selection of athletes and its inclusion of “Great Moments in Sports” where he says “the good, the bad and ugly” will be featured.

He references the Chicago Cubs/Moises Alou/Steve Bartman disaster, Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King competition, the Immaculate Reception, the Chicago Black Sox scandal, the tragic injuries of Dravecky and Joe Theisman and many other memorable moments in sports.

“The presentation will also be unique in as much as every display will be video and audio-based with the voices of both announcers and the athletes,” Rubsenstein said.

Rubenstein said it could take up to a month or more for producers to determine the viability of his concept in terms of potential audience interest.

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