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    7 Great Promotional Ideas from Minor League Baseball

    Minor League Baseball delivers some of the finest, unconventional ideas in all of sports. Here are seven (7) great promotional and entertainment ideas that teams from all leagues can consider benchmarking to enhance the game day fan experience at their venue.

    I. Durham Bulls "Rock On" Promotion

    The Durham Bulls created an entertaining segment where fans seated along the 3rd base line engaged in a singing competition against fans sitting along the first base line. The team played some commonly recognized rock songs that were easily embraced by the crowd. We should see more of this in Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball! Simple, yet effective. 

    II. Live Rain Delay Theater Entertainment (Miscellaneous MiLB Teams)

    The following clip demonstrates how a series of MiLB teams used a splash of creativity to entertain fans during rain delays and stoppages of play. The performances require some pre-game planning but serve as a great way to demonstrate additional entertainment value for fans.

    III. Lake County Captains - "Are You Smarter Than an Umpire?" Promotion Presented by the Ohio Lottery

    The Lake County Captains created a promotion replicating the popular show, "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" by creating a promotion where fans can test their sports IQ head-to-head against an umpire between innings.

    IV. Charlotte Stone Crabs - Closest to the Pin Contest on Golfer's Appreciation Night

    The Charlotte Stone Crabs attracted golfers in the local marketplace out to the ballpark by offering a post-game closest to the pin contest that allowed golfers to test their skills hitting a shot from home plate out to a flag in deep center field.

    V. Lake County Captains - "The Price is Right" Promotion Presented by BJ's

    The Lake County Captains did an excellent job creating a promotion replicating The Price is Right that features three (3) lucky fans being called out of the stands and onto the field to participate for a chance to win prizes.

    VI. Lake County Captains - "Build El Burrito" Promotion Presented by Chipotle

    The Lake County Captains created a simple on-field promotion where fans have to race to use a series of ingredients to build a burrito. The promotion, presented by Chipotle, served as a great awareness driver that also enhances the fan experience between innings.

    VII. Lake County Captains - Michigan International Speedway Tire Race

    The Captains teamed up with Michigan International Speedway to create a competition where two (2) contestants had to race head-to-head rolling actual tires used in NASCAR races around the infield for the chance to win ten (10) free tickets to an upcoming race.


    The Bucks Celebrate Valentine's Day with a Little Humor

    The Milwaukee Bucks recently celebrated Valentine's Day by creating a humorous jumbotron vignette that featured the team mascot, Bango, embarking on a full day of activities with his Valentine. The piece, set to the tune of Meatloaf's popular song "I'd Do Anything for Love", featured a pretty ironic twist that instantly won over all fans in attendance at the game vs. the Clippers.

    The Milwaukee Bucks organization created the spot as part of a week-long effort to promote Bango as the most awesome mascot of the year in conjunction with the Cartoon Network's Hall of Game Awards. The Bucks are supporting the initiative by posting a skit, commercial, or dunk video every day of the week on the team's YouTube channel and leveraging Facebook and Twitter to drive awareness and fan voting.

    Check out Bango's humorous Valentine's Day vignette below:


    A special thanks to Michael Grahl of the Milwaukee Bucks organization for his insights and contributions to this column.


    Mavericks Fans Show Off Their Dance Moves to Win a Suite

    The Dallas Mavericks recently partnered with Xbox Kinect to create a Dance Central "Suite Moves" contest that allows fans to show off their best dance moves for the chances to win a catered suite for twelve (12) and a Kinect prize pack.

    For a chance to win, Mavericks fans had to physically participate at the Xbox Kinect display area in the AAC concourse during two (2) Mavericks games in January. The best eight (8) performers were then selected to compete head-to-head in a pre-game Dance Central contest during the team's home game against the Atlanta Hawks on January 29th for a chance to make it to the final round and win the ultimate suite package.

    Check out a video that the Mavericks created to promote the initiative to its fanbase.


    The Red Sox Let Fans Sing Their Way to Fenway Park

    The Boston Red Sox are hitting the road in January to visit all six (6) states in the New England Region as part of a 2011 Red Sox Road Trip campaign presented by Coca-Cola.

    The highlight of the Red Sox Road Trip initiative is a "Sing Your Way to Fenway" promotional initiative that allows fans a chance to audition for the opportunity to perform the National Anthem at Fenway Park during the 2011 Red Sox home season (think American Idol meets the Boston Red Sox). The team will select two (2) winners at each Road Trip stop and all twelve (12) of the Road Trip winners will qualify to compete in the "Sing Your Way to Fenway" finals at Fenway Park on February 9th.

    The Red Sox are allowing contestants 90 seconds to perform their version of the National Anthem. At each tour stop location, the first (100) fans to arrive on time will be guaranteed the opportunity to audition. Entrants under the age of 18 must have a parent/guardian present to sign a release needed to participate.

    At each of the tour stops, the Red Sox will also feature Wally the Green Monster, the 2004/2007 World Series Trophies, 2011 State Day game vouchers, and a promotion offering one (1) lucky winner the chance to take part in a Red Sox Road Trip Opening Weekend VIP Experience.

    The "Sing Your Way to Fenway" promotion serves as a great idea for sports organizations looking for new ways to take their road trips and community engagement programs to new heights. The initiative allows the Red Sox to engage with neighboring states in a new way and strengthen its connection with fans attending games who have traveled from outside the state of Massachusetts. Based on the success of American Idol and the affinity that Red Sox fans have for the esteemed organization, Sing Your Way to Fenway will undoubtedly be a huge success.

    The Red Sox will make tour stops at the following locations:

    • XL Center (Connecticut) - Tuesday, January 18th (12pm-6pm EST)
    • Curry Hicks Cage at UMASS (Massachusetts) - Wednesday, January 19th (10am-4pm EST)
    • University Mall (Vermont) - Thursday, January 20th (11am-5pm EST)
    • Muldoon Fitness Center at Rivier College (New Hampshire) - Friday, January 21st (12pm-6pm EST)
    • Portland Sea Dogs Hadlock Field (Maine) - Saturday, January 22nd (10am-4pm EST)
    • Woonsocket High School (Rhode Island) - Monday, January 24th (2pm-8pm EST)

    Clippers Fans "Get Their Red On" in 2010

    The Los Angeles Clippers celebrated their new brand new red jerseys and the start of the 2010-11 NBA season by featuring a "Get Your Red On" promotion that truly benefited fans. The promotion allowed fans who purchased a red jersey or red shirt on to receive a free lower bowl ticket to the team's game against the Dallas Mavericks.

    The Clippers offered the deal on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a limited number of tickets being made available. However, it served as a great way to drive merchandise sales, drive interest and awareness around the team's new jerseys, and build some early season excitement around the club, especially with the return of start PF Blake Griffin.

    While some clubs may not have a comparable amount of lower bowl inventory available to run a similar promotion, upper bowl tickets would still present a compelling offer for fans.


    Pepsi Teams Up with CFL Players to Refresh Canada

    There's no question that Pepsi's "Refresh Project" has been an astounding success since it was launched in 2009. The initiative has impacted and inspired the lives of many as Pepsi has donated millions of dollars to fund great ideas to make communities around North America a better place. 

    From a promotional standpoint, the platform has proven to be terrific for Pepsi on all fronts as it's easily applicable to all of Pepsi's touch points, including team and league partnerships. Pepsi recently teamed up the Canadian Football League and eight (8) CFL players (each representing a different team) to create a captivating campaign that features each of the players competing for a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant to support an idea that makes a positive change in their community.

    The CFL Challenge initiative, which runs through Wednesday, November 24th, encourages CFL fans to vote for their favorite players' campaigns in a head-to-head competition that will decide who will win the $50,000 grant. The initiative allows notable CFL players to work hard off the field for a good cause and leverage the support of their avid fan base - a "win-win" for all parties involved.

    Here is a quick breakdown of the campaigns each of the CFL players are supporting:

    • Jason Arakgi, BC Lions - Camp Goodtimes
    • Patrick Kabongo, Edmonton Eskimos - Wellspring Edmonton
    • Wes Lysack, Calgary Stampeders - Canadian Cancer Society Patient Care Kits
    • Rob Bagg, Saskatchewan Roughriders - Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Canada
    • Luke Fritz, Winnipeg Blue Bombers - Winnipeg Harvest Hunger for Hope Program
    • Andre Durie, Toronto Argonauts - Community Living Mississauga
    • Marwan Hage, Hamilton Tiger-Cats - McMaster Children's Hospital
    • Anthony Calvillo, Montreal Alouettes - The Cedars Cancer Institute

    Check out the initiative below:


    Chargers Fans and Motorola "Tweet the Headline"

    The San Diego Chargers have teamed up with Motorola to create an interesting "Tweet the Headline" promotion for fans. Motorola is giving away an H17 Bluetooth headset to the Chargers fan who tweets out the best 100-character headline using the hashtag #motoheadline following each Chargers game.

    Each week, one submission will be selected to headline a story on the Chargers official website,, and will be featured on the Chargers' official Facebook and Twitter pages. The promotion is terrific because it is a simple, yet effective way to engage fans and incorporate partners via social media.


    The Kings Let Groups of Fans Capitalize on Threes...

    Sports organizations looking for new ways to attract and engage mid-sized groups of fans during games should take a close look at a program the Sacramento Kings are offering during the 2010-11 NBA season.

    The Kings organization has created a special section, located just feet from the court near the baseline, that rewards fans based on how many three-pointers the team converts during games. The section, entitled the "Courtside Corner 3-Point Party", allows a group of fans seated in a 14-seat section to receive a $20 Kings Team Store Voucher (good with any $50+ purchase) for each three-pointer the team makes during a game. The group also receives a $200 food and beverage credit to be used for in-seat service thoughout the game.

    The group receives a special three-point marker that will draw the attention of fans throughout the arena every time the team scores a basket from behind the arc and is guaranteed to be featured on KingsVision each game.

    The best part about the section is the fact that if the Kings convert 14 or more three-point shots, everyone in the group gets their money back! One (1) group of (14) fans can sign up to sit in the Courtside Corner 3-Point Party each game  by calling 1-888-91-KINGS or visit No information was disclosed pertaining to the actual cost of group ticket prices to "own" the section.

    In case you were wondering...

    • The Kings averaged 5.8 3-pointers made per game in 2009
    • The record for most 3-point field goals during a game is 21 (set by Toronto in 2005)
    • (8) NBA teams have made (12) 3-point field goals in (1) half
    • The Boston Celtics averaged 26.28 3-point field goal attempts in 2002-03 while the Atlanta Hawks only averaged 0.91 3-point field goal attempts in 1979-1980



    Wisconsin Engages Fanbase with Student Section Race

    In college athletics, there's no question that student sections define the overall fan experience. From traditional chants to trash talking the opposition, student sections can change the momentum of a game in a split second.

    University athletic departments looking to establish an avid student fanbase should take a close look at the student experience at University of Wisconsin home football games, held at Camp Randall. While the experience is traditionally known for the "Jump Around" segment between the 3rd and 4th quarters, there is much, much more to the student experience. From traditional chants to starting different versions of the wave, the students are in control in Madison.

    One of the most unique, engaging tactics the Athletic Department offers during games is a Student Section Race that is held just prior to the "Jump Around" segment between the 3rd and 4th quarter. The Student Section Race features seven letters, representing each of the different student sections, competing in a head-to-head 100-yard dash on the jumbotron. The spot electrifies all of the students in attendance and serves as the perfect precursor for "Jump Around".

    The following two videos don't do the spot justice but provide a nice look at the scoreboard feature. Enjoy!


    Home Depot Drives Excitement at Braves Games with Tool Race

    Over the past few years, Home Depot has brought its partnership with the Atlanta Braves to life with an engaging tool race during games. The race features four (4) Home Depot tools - a hammer, saw, paint brush, and a drill - competing head-to-head in a race around the warning track. The Braves now drive excitement around the initiative by accompanying season long stats of tool performance and aligning fan contestants representing each tool.

    It is rumored that "Two Bit", the Home Depot drill that competes in the race, NEVER wins but here is proof that it did happen once in 2009.

    Here is a great compilation of some other on-field races featured at baseball stadiums across the country.