Meet the MacPhail Nominees: New Hampshire Fisher Cats
That’s right, it’s time for a series of exclusive interviews with teams that were nominated for the prestigious Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy! I’ll be running these throughout the week, in order to provide some insight into the philosophies of some of the top-performing teams in the Minors.
The winner of this year’s award has already been announced, but I’ll refrain from mentioning who it is until the end of the week. If you don’t know, but would like to, then get thee to Google.
Today’s featured nominee is the Eastern League’s New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The answers are courtesy of team president (and 2008 Eastern League executive of the year) Rick Brenner. The questions are courtesy of me.
How would you define your team’s promotional philosophy?
RB: Our philosophy is that if it has the potential to be a fun
night for our fans, then let’s do it. We have 71 games a year, and we ask each staff member to look at it like their only
daughter’s wedding and think of how they would like their wedding guests to be
entertained. What that means is that while we, as a staff, could
be working the final game of a 10-game homestand, it’s critical to remember
that there are always those fans who are attending their first Fisher Cats game
that particular night, and they deserve the best show we can put on. Whether it sells extra tickets or not, if we can hatch an idea that’s fun for
the fans and can really create a special theme around the game, then we go for
it. Of course it is always better when we can combine
entertainment with a cause that is important to the community, which is how we
have generated over one million dollars for the community in the past two
What were some of your biggest promotional successes from
RB: In addition to 20 fireworks nights
and over 45 giveaway nights our biggest success in 2008 came with hosting the Bank of
America All Star Block Party the night before the Northeast Delta
Dental Eastern League All-Star Game in July. We took the night before the
game, normally reserved for just league executives and players, and opened it
up to our fans with a free downtown block party. We
used an outdoor park right in the center of Manchester and created a free event for the community to celebrate
the All-Star Game. We still had a VIP party, but the rest of the park was
a complete carnival and free for the over 3000 fans that came out that
night. There were inflatable rides and face-painting for the kids,
an autograph session with All-Star players, plus Bill “Spaceman” Lee and Babe
Ruth’s daughter, Julia Ruth Stephens. We even had live entertainment with
the Josh Logan Band, which served as a nice prelude to the All-Star Game
itself, where we set our stadium attendance record and saw one of our players,
Travis Snider, put on a show-stopping performance to win the Irving Oil Home
As far as regular season games, Halloween in August worked
out very well for us. Our
fans really took to it. All kids who
dressed up in costume went trick-or-treating throughout the ballpark, and we
had a ‘best costume’ contest for the kids. Our staff members did a
tremendous job with creative costumes, especially the ladies, who dressed up as
Disney princesses and had their own contest to determine who most resembled the
Disney character they were dressed as. We also took
our Educational Days and, in addition to the normal educational things we did,
each staff member dressed like a different character from our nation’s
history. Armed with fact sheets about each character, the staff was on
hand to answer questions and interact with the kids as Ben Franklin, Sam Adams,
Pocahontas and many others.
Any misfires, mishaps, or ideas that just didn’t work?
RB: One of our more popular theme days is Irish Day. The
only drawback in 2008 was that Irish Day and Mothers Day coincided. Everyone had a great time, but it was somewhat confusing
that moms were getting pink hats while kids were getting green horns. And
nothing like relaxing mom by allowing the kids to blow their green horns all
afternoon. Of course the flip side was the
happy Irish moms drinking all afternoon and then stealing the green horns from
What are your favorite sports promotions of all time?
RB: We just love to see happy fans so
anything that makes them laugh and have fun is great to see. We have
Santa Claus here at every game and that is a huge success for the kids.
In a perfect world, what sort of promotions would you
like to stage in 2009 and beyond?
RB: We will have to wait and see what
is in store for the fans of NH next season!