Since John Calipari became coach three years ago, he has found numerous ways to market the Kentucky brand and to make himself and the team known both statewide and nationwide. Locally, the Cats have to compete with other markets in the area, such as Louisville, Cincinnati, Indiana, and Ohio State, occasionally. Throwing the opening pitch at the Cincinnati Reds game last night seemed to stir a few boos through the crowd, but nonetheless Big Blue Nation exists among the Buckeyes and Bearcats in the Cincinnati market, and they have a strong contingent at that. But the program that is necessary to market and compete with on a daily basis is Louisville. Maybe not so much a priority for Billy Gillispie, but at least for John Calipari and his staff, it is.
Recruiting for these two programs has stepped up noticeably within the past few seasons, culminating in a Final Four berth for both schools this season. But the competition never ends, not even in the offseason. Any Louisville fan might try to hang their hat on being the first team to defeat UK twice this season in baseball, and winning the Governor’s Cup in football. But we all know that the only sport that matters in Kentucky is basketball.
Being named the Honorary Grand Marshal of the Pegasus Parade in Louisville next week isn’t the only thing that irks Cards fans the wrong way. According to Louisville fans, the parade which is two days before the Kentucky Derby, the parade is hosted in Louisville, meaning that Calipari and his staff should not be apart of the festivities. Since when is Louisville not located in the state of Kentucky? Even Mike Berry, the President of the Kentucky Derby Festival, says that Big Blue Nation should show up in blue. “We encourage members of the Big Blue Nation to don their blue apparel and come out to the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade to celebrate the University of Kentucky’s first national championship in 14 years.”
And if that isn’t enough to market UK anymore within the city of Louisville, then this video from the Catspys should help the cause. Moral of the story: Don’t cruise campus in a Batmobile.