Promoting Basketball—And Everything Else—in Indian Country
Want to let the whole world know about your upcoming basketball tournament? Or football event, or cross country meet? And it needn’t even be an athletic event. How about any Indian owned company? That’s now possible and it’s provided free of charge. And that’s not all. You’ll see as you read further.
McGeorge DeMarrias Jr., originally from the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana, and a Sioux tribal member, is making this possible. He now lives in California in a Los Angeles suburb, and has a website on which you can advertise and publicize your events.
DeMarrias grew up playing sports on the Montana reservation, playing for Brockton High School. He tells how his father made a point of always attending all the events whether it was basketball, football, cross country, or anything else. “He encouraged everyone on the reservation,” McGeorge said, and he wanted everyone to remember.
McGeorge was in the business of designing web sites and graphic designing, but especially SEO (Search Engine Optimization). “That’s where you concentrate on getting something noticed on the internet,” he explained. The higher the web site is after Googling a subject, the more likely people are to find it.
He bought two domain names, NativeAmericanBasketball.com and AmericanIndianBasketball.com. He bought these two to promote basketball at his old high school and because he wanted to honor his father. These sites went online on Christmas Day in 2008. “By New Years, I was #1,” he said in reference to the location of his websites.
Anyone locating information about Indian basketball is going to see these websites before any others, and anyone wanting to advertise or publicize such an event can have it placed on these web sites free of charge. He also does designs to meet the requests of the organizers or can use tribal designs and logos, or perhaps a prominent landmark on the particular reservation. “Some just say, ‘can you put some eagle feathers on there with a basketball, or the silhouette of a girl, or an eagle bustle,’” he explained.
DeMarrias also sells clothing: hooded pullovers, jerseys, shorts, sporting outfits, etc. and he can create designs which the customers want. “I do all the designing myself. Everything on my website is mine or my wife’s.” He lives near the garment district in Los Angeles so is able to purchase anything and then can create the design desired for each event, school, or business. “I’ll provide the best quality for the cheapest price,” he said.
He takes this a step farther by offering to provide clothing for reservation schools to sell the clothing as a money maker with no money up front. He explains, “For every item sold at their school they can take ten percent to purchase computers for their students, and then take another ten percent of the profits and keep them for a senior athlete who will be graduating that year and given a scholarship in my father’s name.”
He makes a similar offer to folks hitting pow wows. “Anybody on the powwow trail that sets up booths and wants to sell items to earn a little extra money, they can get in touch with us. We have several package deals we can offer and will be happy to work with them.”
DeMarrias has another offer that can save some athletes a few dollars. He allows Pro-Camps to advertise free on his website as well, whether it is basketball, football or something else, “as long as they would give a discount of some sort to a American Indian kid who would like to attend their camps.” That’s usually a $20 savings.
And there’s still another offer some athletes might check out. DeMarrias explains. “Because of the domain name of our company and the website, we receive a lot of attention from overseas, semi-pro teams. A lot of basketball teams over there in some leagues have emailed me requesting videos or names of potential basketball players interested in trying out.”
“We’ll advertise any Indian owned company. It doesn’t have to be sports. We’ll be happy to advertise their stuff on our website. We’ll be more than happy to advertise and promote their store, company, or tournaments – all for free,” he concluded.