To this point, I’ve really only focused on football on this blog. Ironically, football is a sport I am becoming less interested in as the years go by. Something that has caught my attention lately is baseball and specifically the way minor leagues attempt to get your butt in their seats.
The Minor league baseball system consists of 176 teams spanning 15 leagues across North America. As a result of having so many leagues and teams, in 2014 MiLB reported over 40 million turnstiles were walked through. Needless to say, that’s a lot of competition for your viewership. To draw your attention, teams will often host promotional nights as incentives for you to come out. In between your run of the mill dollar beer or bobblehead giveaway nights, organizations will sometimes come up with genius publicity stunts.
Throughout last year, for example, Star Wars Nights were raging across the nation in anticipation of the movie. Many teams even went so far as to include one-off uniforms for the night. Teams will often try to draw your attention in using any and all popular culture references. 2015 was the year the movie Back to the Future II traveled to and many organizations took advantage of that opportunity for promotional purposes. Holidays were no exception. One of the most outrageous promotions I have ever heard of came out of Lake Elsinore, Calif. in 2011, when on Cinco de Mayo, The Storm hosted “Charlie Sheen-co de Mayo.”
Promotional nights in the minor leagues aren’t always just wacky stunts to get you to come out and attend a game. They can also be used to promote good causes and raise awareness of issues. In 2014, The Myrtle Beach Pelicans won 2014 MiLB promotion of the year for its Prostate Cancer Awareness Night that included a live prostate exam for the team’s GM during the seventh inning stretch. The event drew attention from the media sources the likes of ESPN, The Today Show, and even across the pond from The Daily Mail in England. Not only did the event promote awareness of prostate cancer, but the team raised $6,500 in support for Fallon Emery, a local ten-year-old girl who was battling brain cancer. You could say the event was a home run for everyone involved.
So get out and support your local minor league team. Chances are you live very close to at least one. Promotional schedules should be coming out soon, so you can target dates if you’re interested in a free swag bag or want to support an issue you’re passionate about.