Can you imagine the marketing genius of Thomas G. Murdough Jr. owning the Cleveland Browns?
National Football League owners aren't frequent readers of Plastics News. But we can't resist offering some encouragement to Murdough, founder and president of Step2 Co., in his effort to buy the new Cleveland Browns franchise.
Murdough leads one of at least six groups that may bid to buy the Browns. Some of the other groups include high-powered football names, like Don Shula and Carmen Policy. Others have big celebrities from the entertainment world, like Bill Cosby. A few of the other groups appear to have more money than Murdough — the NFL hasn't set a price, but some owners are throwing around figures as high as $1 billion.
Perhaps that price is too steep for Murdough. But we'd still bet on him, because of his knowledge gained running top rotomolding companies: Step2 of Streetsboro, Ohio, and, before that, Little Tikes Co. of Hudson.
Murdough has years of experience dealing with cutthroat retailers. Who's better prepared to deal with greedy agents?
His companies have proven adept at handling wildly fluctuating resin prices. That should pay off when it comes time to budget for unpredictable players' union deals and TV network contracts.
As for marketing, Murdough clearly is in a league by himself. His firms have churned out new products for years, with no end in sight. They've created a new segment of the toy industry that otherwise has seen production shift to low-cost overseas manufacturers.
No doubt he can generate excitement in football among fans who were disillusioned when the last Browns team moved to Baltimore. And anyone who can have such a major role in building North America's two largest rotomolding firms should have no trouble building a Super Bowl champion.
Plastics long has been a major-league industry, a fact neither Wall Street nor Main Street seems to grasp. The fact that a processor executive is in a position to buy a sports franchise is a nice plus for the plastics industry.