Basketball and income tax: An unlikely pair? Not necessarily

What does it take to get spectators in the seats at a New Jersey Nets basketball game? Evidently the game itself is not enough enticement. With the worst record in the NBA, 6-53, and the worst attendance, promoters for the Nets are trying to hit people where they live. Once they gave free tickets to unemployed fans, along with career advice to those who wanted it. The latest promotion is to give away free state tax preparation by well-known tax professional Roni Deutch.

Details were unveiled during a recent game between the Nets and the Orlando Magic. All New Jersey residents at least 18 years old who attended the March 5th game at the IZOD Center were entitled to a coupon that will net them free state tax preparation at the Roni Deutch Tax Center, a $29 value. Representatives from the tax center were on site during and after the game to answer tax-related questions. Deutch was not shy about saying that she hopes the free state tax return will encourage some customers to also have her offices prepare their federal returns, for which she generally charges $185.
 
The promotion didn’t end there. Nets fans who attend any future home game this season can get a coupon for up to $50 off their tax preparation at Roni Deutch’s Hackensack, Bergenfield, and Fair Lawn offices. To make the deal even sweeter, once Deutch customers have their returns completed, they also will be given Nets season tickets while supplies last.
 
"Partnering with Nets Basketball is our opportunity to get involved in the community, ensuring that local taxpayers and basketball fans have the information they need to be prepared this tax season and save big bucks on their taxes," Deutch said.
 
Nets CEO Brett Yormark told reporters, "We are excited about our alliance with Roni Deutch Tax Center as we continue our goal to be more than a game for our fans."
 
According to Deutch, her first such "alliance" was with the Sacramento Kings basketball team in northern California. She is a season ticket holder and an avid sports fan. So it just made sense for her to partner with the Kings. In fact, her organization’s next tax night is March 16th at Sacramento’s Arco Arena when the Kings meet the L.A. Lakers in a sold-out game.
 
Deutch loves the fact that the basketball season and tax season are side by side. "When we approached the Nets, they were ecstatic about the partnership. It’s a way to touch and inspire their fan base."
 
It’s true the Nets have struggled, she said, but that just makes them more appealing to her competitive nature. "It’s easy to jump on the Lakers bandwagon. But a sign of a championship company is that we’re not afraid to partner with franchises that are building and emerging like the Nets, and like the Roni Deutch Tax Centers," Deutch said.
 
"By giving the fans tax coupons, they get a better return on their investment. It builds fan loyalty to see that the owners of the Nets and the Kings are committed to improving the fan experience. Tax prep is something everyone needs. I am so proud that the Nets and the Kings think out of the box, like I do," she said.
 
Deutch said one of her franchisees, Paul Nutti in New Jersey, was very excited about the idea. "He welcomed the public relations recognition that the Nets brought to his Roni Deutch Tax Center franchise,” she said. “We were being talked about in all the papers, the radio shows, on CNBC. Clients are coming through the doors with their coupons in hand. That’s the true value of doing this. We pride ourselves on building the brand through these partnership opportunities."
 
Deutch is anything but passive when it comes to helping build the brand. As the president and founder of the Roni Deutch Tax Centers, she sees that as part of her job. And as a sports fanatic, she loves giving a boost to sports teams like the Nets and the Kings by aligning with them.
 
"I’m an emerging player in the tax preparation industry, and I look for franchises and teams that need that partnership as much as I do," she said.
 
The proof that her aggressive marketing strategy works is in the fact that more and more mom-and-pop tax preparer offices are coming to her, hoping to start their own Roni Deutch Tax Centers. She encourages anyone interested in starting a franchise to contact her at http://www.rdtcfranchise.com.

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