Bouncing Around Sports Biz: Some Best Practices To Note…

As we go thru Father’s Day weekend in the States, a look at some good moves from in and around the sports biz world.

Maximizing Merch: There was a time not too long ago where quick turnarounds on merchandise tied to players was risky and was carefully charted. However in today’s digital world, with free agents in and around and sensations made overnight, teams are less risk averse than ever before. Part of the reason is the ability to micro sell…screen printing high quality replicas in low quantity, which fans can gobble up not just in stadium and at retail but through every conceivable online channel as well.

Cases in point this week..minutes after the Patriots signed Tim Tebow, tee-shirts with the Tebow name and likeness “Tebowing,” in Pats colors, hit the marketplace. The Dodgers were able to quickly capitalize in the surprising success of young star Yasiel Puig by creating an entire line of merch geared not just to the core fan but to a Hispanic audience and as a result Puig’s stuff has flown out the door and off the Dodgers site at record levels never before seen for a team with a long history of marketable stars.

Next up for sure will be the Brooklyn Nets, who will come up with some line of Jason Kidd merch to share with fans and get the team back in the buzz business as the NBA Draft approaches. The ream had a great first season at the Barclays center but they still need to push to stay more relevant than ever before when the halo of year one dims a bit, and getting their new coach on and in as many places before he records hos first W or L will be essential.

Have there been scores of over ordering at retail for players who get moved, like a Jeremy Lin or RA Dickey? Sure. But now more than ever teams are aware of how important it is to move items first and fast, and technology today gives them that ability.

Tigers Serve An Underserved Audience: The year is going well for the fan-conscious and innovative Detroit Tigers, who again have hopes for a strong post-season run. Still the team is always looking to be smart in serving all audiences, and this week offered up a gluten-free night for people with the severe wheat allergy. In addition to a specialized menu and ticket promo, the team pulled in a charity component, offering a percentage of sales to the Tri-County Celiac Support Group. Which helps people cope with Celiac Disease. It may not get the glitz of mega-events like pink bats or blue sneakers for breast cancer and prostate cancer, but carving a niche for gluten free support education and awareness shows the community that the Tigers, once again, understand the fan.

Nats, Padres Major In Minor Ideas: Also this week, two stories of note from the minors. First, the Washington Nationals drummed some buzz when they announced that a longtime vendor of an affiliate not even in their organization…the Daytona Cubs…was getting a shot with their club next year. Vince Rainey, who had worked in Daytona for 13 years but has a degree in communications, was given a chance to come and learn in the front office next year from owner Mark Lerner.  Rainey has been popular for his beer calls over the years and has agreed to move to DC to get a chance to learn more about the business.

It’s an interesting “call up” idea that maybe every organization could try somewhere down the road, not just moving players and coaches up and down the ladder but showing fan that there is an opportunity to engage and reward the best and most innovative employees at every level with an MLB shoutout and some recognition. The minors are known for their innovative promotions and fans, bringing the best of the best to MLB, maybe even around the All-Star game or to the MLB Fan cave, could be a great idea that could be pushed to even hockey in future years. Nice idea and nice story grabbed courtesy of  Guyism.

Lastly, “Social Media Nights” have become the norm across most sports, now really with more copying and less innovation. Pretty cookie cutter and low cost. However the San Diego Padres Single-A affiliate in Fort Wayne, Indiana created a Social Media Night with a special merch spin, weaving 6,000 twitter handles into a custom designed Wilson jersey for the bight. It was a great reward and a little extra perk, for all those followers who hit the March 11 signup day for the event.  The jersey looked clean and was a nice add on to put some more spin into the typical meet up using social tools at the park.