SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2018

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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Page 37 of 75

January 2018 38 Amateur athletic events and even grass roots sporting championships can boost fan excitement with promotional incen- tives that keep the event in everyone's mind. A sports stadium is more than the noun implies. It is a multipurpose site: a self-contained field of dreams where the day belongs to players while the night gives way to bands that take a stage; where baseball reigns supreme in spring and summer and football sea- son happens, rain or shine, in fall and winter. The stadium is also a marketing venue, where game-day giveaways are more than a means to increase ticket sales or unload excess merchandise. On the contrary, a giveaway—a bob- blehead doll, digital wristwatch, hat or mug—is the culmination of a detailed process, ranging from feedback to focus groups and potential sponsors. The item itself is the result of countless meetings and brainstorming sessions, with reviews and suggestions about everything from product design to manufacturing costs. By the time all parties approve a giveaway, variables still persist, things which no one can foresee, be it a rookie who catches fire or a beloved veteran who catches flack from fans and critics alike. The good news is that a giveaway can become not only a tradition but a success that boosts atten- dance regardless of a team's record or, often, in spite of a team's record. The even better news is that a giveaway is a tangible expression of gratitude to fans, something they can showcase or share with friends, something they can promote themselves. Each item is a collectable in its own right which, in all cases, has shown to increase in value, from free to, say, $33 or $333 in worth, depending on the giveaway and its social significance. The point is, these collect- ibles have a distinctive look and feel to coincide with or commemorate an occasion. Giveaways are keepsakes, not throwaway items. Look no further than the Buster Hugs Mug giveaway, one of the top 10 giveaways of 2016, according to MLB. com, the official site of Major League Baseball. Created and executed by the Index Promotions promotional products team, the must-have coffee mug for Giants fans bears the signature and like- ness of Buster Posey, the team's catcher (and occasional first baseman), whose honors include National League Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and winner of the National League batting title. Known for hugging pitchers after every Giants win, Posey is also a philan- thropist who meets with—and hugs— not only his teammates but also with pediatric cancer patients. He is proof positive of how a giveaway can become an event unto itself. Sporting Events As Promotional Phenomenon: BY CHARLIE GAFFNEY, CEO/PRESIDENT OF INDEX PROMOTIONS t SPECIAL Feature The Power of Giveaways Also Applies To Smaller, Amateur Sports

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