Struggling Sixers draft furry blue mascot to court young fans

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 (Electronic image via nba.com/sixers)

(Electronic image via nba.com/sixers)

After nearly a year of market research, the struggling Philadelphia 76ers are days away from unveiling a new, kid-friendly mascot.

Until then, the organization is keeping its identity under wraps.

A recently released video, though, does provide some clues – most notably, that the mascot will have some blue fur and what appear to be paws.

Tim McDermott, the team’s chief marketing and innovation officer, added that the mascot is a completely original character largely chosen by kids in the Delaware Valley.

“When you look at what age fans become fans of their favorite team, the research shows that it’s really between the ages of 6 and 10. And so, if you think about it from that point, it only makes sense to create a mascot that is for kids, by kids,” said McDermott.

Whatever the mascot is, Pennsylvania University professor and sports industry expert Ken Shropshire said it’s no afterthought for the organization. Especially, in light of its losing team.

The Sixers have an 11-39 record.

“When you’re not having a great deal of success on the floor, you want to have whatever you can to bring attention and get fans to focus on your activities,” said Shropshire. “And it might just be the curiosity that comes through the new mascot that gets somebody to attend that might not otherwise come.”

The Sixers have had just two mascots during the team’s 52-year history.

Big Shot, a lumbering, blue creature, was the first.

Then came Hip-Hop, a muscular, slam-dunking rabbit that McDermott said got “mixed reviews” during its time on the roster. He was cut in 2011.

The team’s latest mascot will be revealed Tuesday at the Franklin Institute. It will make its on-court debut next Friday during the NBA All-Star game.

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