There’s nothing like a game that comes with a free souvenir. Reminding fans that you’re never too old for a goodie bag, promotional games add some extra excitement to the ballpark experience.
ESPN’s DJ Gallo (unsure if he actually spins) highlighted his opinion of the best and worst scheduled promotions of the 2009 season.
From his list I believe the following are the better promotional concepts:
- Beerfest (A’s) No details necessary, simply a terrific idea.
- 5K Sausage Run/Walk (Brewers) Those who participate in the 5K receive a free hot dog and soda. Rewarding good behavior: this is how we teach America to earn their calories.
- Crab Mallet Set (Orioles) There’s no consolation for a bad team like reinstating Baltimore pride with a tool to take out the frustration caused by said team.
The following are my choices for the worst promotional concepts:
- Lawyer Appreciation Night (Marlins) Seriously? Now is a bad time to appreciate anyone who has a job, let alone a prestigious, high-paying one that is stereotypically morally void. Did this idea beat out Psychic Appreciation Night, Thank You for Retiring to Florida Night or Appreciating Those with Six-Figure Salary Night?
- Braves Wives Toy Drive (Braves) Too many jokes to be made here. Plus, a promotion should really give something away, not the opposite.
- Ladies Nite Out; All You Can Eat Seats (Marlins) Good idea: Ladies Night (spelled correctly). Bad idea: The turnout of women that want unlimited ballpark food should be a sad reflection of the overweight and economically struggling (a new politically correct way to say ‘poor.’)
Upon further research, the New York teams have some good offerings this season.
The Yankees have many days giving out classic freebies like: magnetic schedules, calendars, caps and bats. Also practical, the Yankees have a water bottle promotion, bottle opener key chain, koozie and Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards. There will a free umbrella day, which would be more appropriate for Seattle, but is still applicable in New York. Only in New York could there passport holder night. This wouldn’t work as well in other parts of the country where the majority do not have a passport.
The Mets also have some good giveaways: T-shirts, caps, lunchboxes, Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards and Build-A-Bear day. For opening day, the Mets will provide lanyards and tickets. Now we know what Met interns have been doing the past month: getting in touch with their inner camp counselor by mass-producing lanyards.
As a better use of time, I have brainstormed some possible promotions for sponsors to consider:
- Foam Fingers Crossed Day (Mets) Towards the end of the season, provide the beloved foam fingers, but in the crossed position. Prayer books and anti-jinx kits sold separately.
- Bailout Bucket (Tigers) Brought to you by GM, let the kids learn to lobby with a plastic donation bucket. Shovel to get you out of the hole you’re in not included.
- Discourage Reproduction Safe Sex Night (Phillies) To be sponsored by whichever condom company desired, send the message that the world needs no more obnoxious Philly fans by providing free protection to fans.
- Barry Bonds Growth Chart Night (Giants) Remember the legend with a fold-out steroid growth chart. Measurements become exponentially greater. Not accepted in the Hall of Fame.
There is still time for sponsors to jump on board. The bad economy should be motivation to take advantage of a situation with terrific exposure in an audience that will accept whatever you give them.