All professional sports seasons are long, and the endless promotions that go on fill large storage rooms before, during, and sometimes after with lots and lots of stuff. Sometimes in a sport like baseball you get a rainout, and all that merch sits waiting for something to happen. Sometimes a sponsor over delivers on items, sometimes there are trades that make some promos somewhat unusable. Sometimes community events don’t use up the amount of items ordered, or short staffed field groups don’t give away everything they could have.
So there it sits, sometimes heading toward the garbage or recycling pile on cleanout day. In years past, even media guides, programs and yearbooks, which are in smaller orders these days with the advance of eBooks and more data contained in a mobile app, would sit in closets and never see the light of day. Wasted space, wasted items, wasted opportunities.
Now however, teams have figured out a smart, simple and fun way to get rid of some of that distressed merch on a nightly basis. The Mets for example, position prize wheels throughout CitiField, where any fan can register and then spin the wheel for a chance to win somewhat older, somewhat out of date, somewhat unique items, ranging from tee-shirts from early season promotions to cards to pens and pencils. There are few limits to the amount of spin, and the area always seems busy. Other teams have also taken to the spin to move out closets filled with old promos, from left over bobbleheads to visors that haven’t seen the sun all year, with each piece going to a consumer always looking for a little distraction and a little added value, even if the value is a card of a player who was an afterthought or who was long gone.
Other than cleaning some closets and getting a few more freebies into the hands of their ultra-loyal fans, what does the spin accomplish? Well if you need to supply info such as an email address (which most teams do) it again provides trackable data that teams can use. It certainly shows that fans willing to spin for even small prizes are loyal and interested, and if they have to check in in different locations to spin and on different days, it’s a great way to track fan loyalty and affinity. By the way, the amount of “stuff” sitting in closets for most teams is probably pretty endless.
Obviously the spin doesn’t have to be just for the massive baseball season; colleges and even NASCAR can try the wheel to move older items, and maybe for a few higher ticket items there is a charity tie. If you think you are running short on a night, you shut it down. Or even better, how about having loyal fans bring back THEIR items from years past to do a swap or a giveaway, which would probably get some other fun items into the mix.
Regardless, the wheel of fortune at the ballpark is a great idea. Fans don’t mind the hokiness of the idea, they sometimes get a fun and very usable items, it presents a little added value, and most importantly it gets slightly older, distressed items out of the closet and into the hands of those who might like them, well before going to the end of season trash heap.
Spin away fans, there is more where that came from.