It is early in the baseball season, so teams from the minors to the majors are scrambling to fill seats and give fans some added value to turn out before schools are done and the weather turns balmy. Here are three early season promos worth a mention:
Zipping it in Asheville: The Asheville Tourists, known back and the day as the place where the fictional “Crash” Davis ended his career (Kevin Costner in Bull Durham) came up with one of the more risky but fun promotions to appeal to a younger generation who may not be attuned to baseball. The Tourists have started delivering the game ball via zipline. Prior to each home contest, all season long, a presumably lucky fan, sponsored by Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures and with a guide, will take a 500-foot journey into McCormick Field in order to deliver a game-ready South Atlantic League Baseball. Hopefully the ball is packed tight, the fan is willing and able, and the delivery goes well. Regardless it is innovative, fun and yet another category that is new to the sponsorship pile. Will done in the Sally League.
Bisons Get Healthy: Ballpark food has never been confused with healthy, yest medical providers are some of the largest corporate partners in professional sport. So the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets, the Buffalo Bisons, came up with a great compromise. The created a “The Healthy Zone” in conjunction with partner BlueCross BlueShield and their healthy lifestyle initiative called “Healthy Changes Everything.” In addition to providing information on living a healthy lifestyle, the zone provides great alternatives to traditional ballpark food, such as Turkey and veggie burgers, Chicken sausage with spinach and feta on a hot dog roll, and light snacks at affordable prices. It is a great way for a team to connect to the fans and extend a sponsorship through the non-traditional. Too bad no Bison burgers though.
Royals Pine Away: Many current Kansas City Royals fans may not even believe their team was once the cream of the crop in the American League. However K.C. came up with a great promotion that shows they know when not to take themselves too seriously with “George Brett Mini Pine Tar Bat,” on Saturday against the Yankees, honoring the infamous “Pine Tar Game” at Yankee Stadium back in 1983, when Brett was thrown out of the game after hitting a homer for having too much pine tar on his bat (the Commissioner overturned the ruling on the field and the final innings were played later in the season). The unique freebie gave the Royals some much needed buzz in the social space and showed MLB teams it’s OK not to just do the traditional giveaways to draw in fans. Yes a reenactment of Brett’s tirade would have been great, but what’s even greater are all the possibilities that this opens for some of the unique moments in sports history (how about the Heat doing a Dwayne Wade shoe toss next season). Well done KC, hope other take notice.