PSU announces Viking Athletic Partnership
We introduced David Hersh to you here, when I first heard he was back in town. If you need a little more background information on him, you can find it there.
Suffice it to say he's just about the only owner of the Portland Beavers (at the ripe old age of 22, when he bought them in 1979) in my time who made the team a genuine topic of conversation in the community. He was a promoter of skill, guile and guts, unafraid of making a fool of himself if something didn't work out, which -- like a lot of jokes on the old Johnny Carson Tonight Show -- were often more entertaining when they bombed.
Hersh, it was announced Wednesday, and his Viking Athletic Partnership will "manage marketing, advertising, broadcast services, and ticket and sponsorship sales for all PSU athletics' sports programs."
At this point, I'm going to have to call that task "Mission Nearly Impossible."
The Viking brand -- if there even is one -- has nowhere to go but up, by Hersh's own admission. And a confession here -- I graduated from Portland State and spent a few years coaching there. But I have a deep respect for Hersh's ability to create excitement, controversy, interest, shock and awe. If anyone can do this, he is the one. And he's got some experienced help on his team from ex-Portland Beaver general managers Mike Higgins and Mark Helminiak, former Portland baseball owner Jack Cain, advertising wizard Cap Hedges, promoter Dream Weaver and many others.
At this point the Vikings are as close to athletic obscurity as they could be and still survive in a town this size. This will not be an overnight turnaround. Can Hersh do it? I'm not sure -- but if he can't, I don't know if anyone can.