Results tagged ‘ Awards ’

A Matter of Great Importance

nyss.jpgThis year’s truncated edition of “Meet the MacPhails” has come to a close, and I’d like to thank award nominees the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Peoria Chiefs, Fort Myers Miracle, and State College Spikes for participating.

None of these teams actually won the MacPhail trophy, however. The ultimate victor was none other than the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League. For more info on them, please refer to this recent article, which headlined the latest edition of MiLB.com’s bi-weekly “Minoring in Business” feature. See? I’ve got my bases covered, just like I was an infield tarp or some other such base-covering device.

But — rust never sleeps, a rolling stone gathers no moss, and a mud elephant wading through the sea leaves no tracks. In other words, time to move on to the next topic!

Here’s a topic that caught my eye this morning — and you know how painful that can be!

“The Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, were
recognized on the
tt.gif floor of the New Jersey Senate with a ceremonial
resolution prior to the voting session on Monday.

The resolution was proposed by Senator Shirley Turner (15th Legislative
District) to honor the Thunder’s accomplishment of winning back-to-back
Eastern League Championships.”

The full press release can be found here, but the text I quoted above is pretty much the gist of it. Now, on one hand I know that a “ceremonial resolution” isn’t good for much of anything. One of those and 75 cents will get you a cup of coffee, maybe.

But, you know, it still had to feel pretty good nonetheless, the chance for Thunder front office staff members to enter the hallowed halls of the New Jersey State Senate in order to take credit for a job well done. And it got me thinking — I would like to be recognized by my State Senate, for maintaining this fine blog. It is one of the internet’s premier destinations for information on Minor League Baseball promotions and operations, after all.

martin.pngBut, it would be kind of classless for me to lobby the New York State Senate for this honor, wouldn’t it? That’s where you come in. Please take a moment to email my representative, Martin Malave Dilan, in order to tell him that a blogging genius lives in his district who should be honored with a ceremonial resolution on the senate floor. 

dilan@senate.state.ny.us

One day, and one day soon, I shall bask in the state-sanctioned glory that is rightfully mine.

In advance, I thank you for your support.

Meet the MacPhail Nominees: State College Spikes

spikelee.gifThe Larry
MacPhail Promotional Trophy is awarded annually to the Minor League team that
did the most outstanding promotional work during the recently concluded season.

Throughout the past week, this fine blog has run interviews with
representatives from the nominated teams, in an effort to shine some
light on their promotional strategies and philosophies.

Due to a health setback suffered here at the Ben’s Biz Blog headquarters, today’s post is a few days behind schedule. But, as you shall soon see, it was well worth the wait (unlike “Chinese Democracy“).

Today’s featured team is the State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League. Answers are courtesy of Spikes promotions and community relations coordinator Jennifer Orlando.

 

Prior to the season, had your team ever been nominated for a
MacPhail Award? If so, ever won it?

JO: No, our team has never been nominated! However, in 2004, our
sister team the

curveamagurve.png

Altoona Curve won the MacPhail Award.

 

How would you define your team’s promotional philosophy?

JO: Our philosophy is to always keep our promotions new and
fresh for our fans. We want to be sure that for our season ticket holders,
every night seems different to them. We also want to be sure that we treat
every night like Opening Night so that the entertainment looks top notch to a
fan that has never come to a game before.

 

What were some of your biggest promotional successes from
last season?

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JO: Last season, our “Night of 100 Promotions” got a lot of
attention on MiLB.com. Another big promotional success for us was our “We Win,
You Win” promotion. We had a lot of fun and got a lot of attention for this one
because our team did not have the greatest record* in 2008. The deal was, if the
Spikes won, everyone got a voucher for a free ticket to any of the next three
games. If they lost, our GM and Director of Ticket Sales would have to walk the
bases for as many hours as the margin of defeat in that game. Lucky for them,
the Spikes won that night! The fans really caught onto this promotion and had a
lot of fun pulling for their team! Two of our most entertaining nights
for the fans were our “Salute to Duct Tape” and “Salute to the Mustache”.
 We also had a series of “Going Green” nights. These were a huge success
and we are definitely going to continue these next year.

*18-56

 

Any misfires, mishaps, or ideas that just didn’t work?

JO:

We tried having a “Singles Night” this year which
didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped. We had a date auction with some of our
most eligible front office staff members, and the auction raised money for the
American Heart Association. It ended up being a little awkward, but in the end,
still raised some money for AHA, which was our goal. It wasn’t a complete
disaster, but wasn’t one of our finest either.  

 

What are your favorite sports promotions of all time?

JO: I think mascot races are one of the best promotions that can
be done. They engage

eyeeyesir.jpg

the fans to the fullest extent, which is the point of any
promotion! This year, we had an eyeball race, where 3 inflatable eyeballs raced
around each game. The fans would cheer for their favorite eyeball and we were
sure to keep fans aware of the standings. It was quite a “sight” to watch this
race and it was great to see the fans really get into it.

 

In a perfect world, what sort of promotions would you like
to stage in 2009 and beyond?

JO: Well, without giving away too many secrets, we do have some
great ideas planned for 2009! We are definitely going to continue our vow to
going green and try to continue that theme several times during the season.
 We are hosting the 2009 NYPL All-Star game on August 18, so that will
lead us to many new and exciting things also!

Meet the MacPhail nominees: Fort Myers Miracle

Thumbnail image for 131_logo_Miracle_M_Logo.jpgThe Larry
MacPhail Promotional Trophy is awarded annually to the Minor League team that
did the most outstanding promotional work during the recently concluded season.

Throughout the week, this fine blog will run interviews with
representatives from the nominated teams, in an effort to shine some
light on their promotional strategies and philosophies.

Today’s featured team is the Fort Myers Miracle of the Florida State League. All answers are courtesy of Miracle promotions director Gary Sharp.

The Miracle were also nominated for the MacPhail trophy last season, and an interview with former GM Andrew Seymour regarding that honor can be found here

Prior to the season, had your team ever been nominated for a
MacPhail Award? If so, ever won it?

GS: We were honored to be nominated the last
two years and prior to that, 1998-2000. The club won the award in 1992.

 

How would you define your team’s promotional philosophy?

GS: We
try and create promotions that not only are creative, but promotions that take
into account how they can also impact ticket sales, food and beverage and
merchandise. The crazier the better!!

 

What were some of your biggest promotional successes from
last season?

Thumbnail image for free_gasoline_prices.jpg

GS: We had few that stood out because they were topical that brought
our whole operation in on these promotions.

“Cheaper By The Gallon Days” This promotion was created
to respond to the escalating price of gas this summer. Our hope was to take
something that was perceived as being one of the most negative stories of the
summer of 2008, and putting a positive spin on it. We decided to set our prices for box seat
tickets and grill items offered at Hammond Stadium, based on the lowest price
for a gallon of unleaded gasoline found in South Fort
Myers, the area surrounding the ballpark. The
Miracle’s goal to “fuel up” the local economy also included “Gallon Giveaways”,
like a gallon of water or a gallon of sour cream. Anything that comes in a
gallon was fair game for a “Cheaper by the Gallon” giveaway. Since there are
four quarts in a gallon, if there were four people in your vehicle when you
arrived at Hammond Stadium, your parking was free on these nights. Every fan
that attended a “Cheaper By The Gallon” Night was also eligible to enter into a
drawing to receive a free tank of gas. As a result of the huge popularity of the promotion, four local
“RaceTrac” gas stations teamed up with the Miracle for the
final month of the season, as well as for the Miracle postseason home games in
2008.

Thumbnail image for airplane_l.gif

FLIGHT TO NOWHERE NIGHT We poked fun at the airline industry to shed light on the rise of
passengers’ airport hassles and increasing airline ticket prices. Complaints
are up at the ticket counter, but with this promotion, accolades flew in from
our fans. The game was to begin at 7:05 pm, but due to some “unforeseen
circumstance”, the game was delayed a few minutes as long lines at the gates
delayed fans from getting in to the ballpark on time. Passengers were charged
for baggage brought into the ballpark and the ability to check your bag was
available for a nominal fee. We couldn’t guarantee that their possessions
weren’t mishandled, lost, mangled or rummaged through, however. Also,  everyone was screened by
our resident FIG (Fun Is Good) agents. We took the opportunity in the midst of a fiscal crisis caused by increasingly
high fuel costs and bad economy to add additional “fees” to generate new
revenue. Pockets schedules, normally free, cost $1 and aisle seats cost an
extra $2. Birthday announcements, participation in on-field games and singing
of the 7th inning stretch all came with a fee. Some seats were
oversold and people were accommodated if they were bumped from their seat. Cart
service, provided from our lovely Miracle in-stadium attendants, was only
available in the box seats. Upgrades were available for an additional fee.

 

Any misfires, mishaps, or ideas that just didn’t work?

GS: The idea that I thought would be huge, but completely
bombed was “Miracle

mappymapmap.jpg

Mystery Night”. There were clues set up all over the
ballpark for fans to collect and try and solve the mystery. I was expecting
this to last all game and fans had to visit all the different parts of the
ballpark where the clues were located. But, the mystery was solved by the first
pitch!! Our winner was the first into the ballpark, got the instructions and
basically sprinted all over the stadium picking up clues and then after 20
minutes he finally figured it out. Well, so much for planning.

 

What are your favorite sports promotions of all time?

GS: Disco
Demolition Night in 1979 at Comiskey
Park.
I was way too young to remember the night, but through stories from our owner
Mike Veeck (who was involved in the craziest night ever on the South Side of Chicago)
it might have been the wildest idea with the worst result. 

 

In a perfect world, what sort of promotions would you like
to stage in 2009 and beyond?

GS: I would like to have the
first ever snow delay in Florida State
League history. We are working on a Winter at the Park promotion that could
include downhill skiing on our berm, ski package giveaways and who else knows
what are staff will come up with.

Meet the MacPhail Nominees: Peoria Chiefs

PeoriaChiefs.pngThe Larry
MacPhail Promotional Trophy is awarded annually to the Minor League team that
did the most outstanding promotional work during the recently concluded season.


Throughout the week, this fine blog will run interviews with
representatives from the nominated teams, in an effort to shine some
light on their promotional strategies and philosophies.

Yesterday’s featured club was Eastern League nominee the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Today, we move into America’s heartland in order to highlight the Peoria Chiefs. All answers are courtesy of Chiefs broadcast and media manager Nathan Baliva. All questions are courtesy of me.

Prior to the season, had your team ever been nominated for a
MacPhail Award? If so, ever won it?

 

NB: We were the Midwest League recipients after the 2005 season, but to the
best of my knowledge we have never won the MILB award.

 

How would you define your team’s promotional philosophy?

 

NB: “Your Home for Summer Memories!” is our organizational slogan, as
we try to give

Thumbnail image for obrien.jpg

our fans something to remember each and every time they enter
O’Brien Field. Each year we try to expand and build upon the traditions we have
established in the past while also starting new ones that our fans will
embrace.

 

What were some of your biggest promotional successes from
last season?

 

Thumbnail image for 581x300_wrigley_field.jpg

NB: We played a regular season game at Wrigley Field in Chicago
in front of a MWL record crowd of 32,103 fans while also garnering national
attention. Our free hot dogs and peanuts nights on Wednesday increased our
average attendance on Wednesday nights more than 1300 from last season. We also
brought in local and national celebrities such as Hall of
Famer Bruce Sutter, Illinois
basketball coach Bruce Weber, Bradley soccer coach Jim DeRose, Jason Earles
from Hannah Montana, Illinois State
basketball coach Tim Jankovich and former Illinois
basketball player and ordained minister Roger Powell. We also drew over 6,000
fans on average for our 12 fireworks shows, which each featured a Pitch-In for
Charity. Our Jimmy Buffett Night was a sell-out yet again this season with a
post-game concert by Coco Loco and the Chiefs players/coaches all wore Hawaiian
jerseys that were auctioned for charity after the game.

 

Any misfires, mishaps, or ideas that just didn’t work?

NB: We had a Classic Car Cruise scheduled that was a first time
event for us that failed to take off the way we anticipated. The logistics were
tough and hopefully will we have them corrected for the next try.

 

What are your favorite sports promotions of all time?

 

NB: The White Sox Disco Demolition comes to mind. The St. Paul
Saints with a Bud

buhnerbuzz.jpg

Selig tie giveaway after the MLB All-Star game tied in 2003.
And Jay Buhner look alike night in Seattle
where fans could shave their heads.

 

In a perfect world, what sort of promotions would you like
to stage in 2009 and beyond?

 

NB: We have a few tricks up our sleeves for 2009 and in a
perfect world they would lead to 70 sellouts for us here in Central
Illinois!

Meet the MacPhail Nominees: New Hampshire Fisher Cats

larrymacphailhof_1.jpgAfter a brief hiatus, Ben’s Biz Blog is back in action. And what better way to return to action than by resurrecting one of last year’s most popular features?

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.

More info on the Fisher Cats can be found here and here.

How would you define your team’s promotional philosophy?

fishercats.gif

 

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
seasons.

 

What were some of your biggest promotional successes from
last season?

 

2008ASLogo.JPG

RB: In addition to 20 fireworks nights
and over 45 giveaway nights o
ur 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
Run Derby.

 

As far as regular season games, Halloween in August worked
out very well for us. Our

Jack O Lantern Orange Pearl.jpg

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?

 

green-beer.jpg

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
their kids!

 

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!

The Best of 2007…

GameopsAs mentioned previously on this fine blog, I am a regular visitor to the excellent Gameops.com (the "leader in Game Operations and Entertainment Since 1998"). Last week, the site unveiled its annual "Best of" Awards, based on the opinions of a 12 unbiased industry professionals.  While these awards cover all of professional sports, several of the winners are from right here in the world of affiliated Minor League Baseball.

The Portland Beavers were named co-winners in the "Best Game Promotion" category, for theirBdon
much-discussed and celebrated "Bob L. Head Bobblehead Night". Meanwhile, the Fort Myers Miracle received an honorable mention  for "Billy Donovan Night", which has already been voted the year’s top promotion on this fine website.

In the "Best Act" category, uber-nerd Myron Noodleman recieved an honorable mention. Mr. Noodleman is one of the most popular touring acts in the Minors, and a recurring fixture of many a team’s promotional calendar.

Parker_070412_1_1
The Fresno Grizzlies were the Minors’ biggest winners, however. The inimitable Parker was named "Best Mascot", while the club also received an honorable mention in the "Best Team Operations" category. Congratulations to the Grizzlies, who are entering their 10th anniversary season with a new logo as well as tons of momentum from last year’s impressive campaign.

The full list of award winners can be found here. Also worth checking out are the YouTube clips on the bottom of the page. Somebody book Red Panda Acrobat at a Minor League Ballpark, stat!

And The Winner Is…

Westmichiganwhitecaps_1As regular readers of this fine blog are well aware, I have spent an inordinate amount of time over the past month covering the Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy. I have run interviews with representatives of each of the 11 teams nominated for the award, and in the introduction to each of these interviews I made it clear that the overall winner would be announced at the Winter Meetings Awards Luncheon on December 3.

Well, I lied. The trophy will merely be presented at the Awards Luncheon. The winner, in fact, has already been announced: The Midwest League’s West Michigan Whitecaps.

Yesterday, I wrote a "proper" article on the Whitecaps’ MacPhail Award victory (which was announced by Minor League Baseball on Monday). It can be found here. As is fast becoming my policy, I would rather not rehash one of my articles on this fine blog. Instead, I prefer to add a few additional observations.

– I love the Whitecaps’ policy of staging "Big Top Tuesdays", in which circus-type acts are broughtContortionbox
to the ballpark. Whitecaps Promotions Coordinator Brian Oropallo mentioned to me that Quick Change was a huge hit at the ballpark last season, and that Rubberboy puts on a truly amazing show. This year, he is looking forward to seeing the Human Slinky perform, and Mad Chad the Chainsaw Juggler is on the promotional calendar as well.

– The MacPhail Trophy was first presented in 1966, and since then only two other Midwest League teams have won the award. Cedar Rapids was named a co-winner in 1976, and Kane County emerged victorious in 1995.

– I mentioned this in one of yesterday’s posts, but the Whitecaps’ 2008 promotional schedule is highlighted by the Dave Rozema Bobble-leg Giveaway on July 9. Make plans to attend that game now, or get gouged on eBay later.

Meet the MacPhail Nominees: Lexington Legends

LexBefore moving on to some big news regarding the much-hyped Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy (check back tomorrow), I think it would be appropriate to post this late-arriving response from the Lexington Legends. I am proud to say that this fine blog has now featured an interview with each of the 11 teams nominated for the award. For a recap of the previous 10 interviews (as well as links to each), please point your browser to this distinct location.

Today we speak with Emily Crumrine, the Director of Special Events for the South Atlantic League’s Lexington Legends (Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros).

Has your team ever been nominated for the MacPhail Award? If so, ever won it?

Yes. Never taken home the trophy, though.


In 25 words or less, what is your team’s general promotional strategy?

Our games are more than nine innings. We aim to provide great laughs and great memories for every fan that walks through the gate.

What were some of your biggest promotional successes from this past season? Anything thatKdw2yo_1

just didn’t work?

Our Breast Cancer Awareness Night is always one of our best promotions. We hold a pre-game luncheon in our Chalet, deck out the stadium in pink (including the players) and hold a lot of activities with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.

What is your favorite sports promotion of all time?

The Fattest Fat Man contest is one of the most hilarious on-field promotions I’ve ever heard of.

Now it’s time to start planning for 2008. Any tricks up your sleeve for next season?

Check out our website! We plan to utilize the internet with more of our promotions and get our fans involved. We’ve gone through a lot of changes this off season, and are working hard to make sure that 2008 is our best year thus far!

The MacPhails Have Been Met

Larrymacphailhof_1With the exception of the South Atlantic League’s Lexington Legends, this fine blog has now run an interview with every team that has been nominated for the Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy (and I haven’t given up on the Legends yet, hopefully they will see fit to respond sometime in the near future).

But, for now, this series of team Q and A’s will come to a close. For those who have been reading them on a regular basis, I hope the "Meet the MacPhail" interviews provided a window into just how diverse the Minor League landscape is.

In a way — and I am shedding a tear as I write this — these teams serve as perfect representations of the vastly different ways in which success can be achieved in America. They don’t call it the land of opportunity for nothing, and I hope I speak for all of my readers when I say that I am immensely proud to live in a country that tolerates — nay, celebrates — Deer Bananas, Crazy Hot Dog Vendors, Mike Tyson Tributes, Stars Wars Jerseys, mono-stricken General Managers, and much, much, much, much more.

Ben’s Biz Blog salutes you all.

The winner of the 2007 Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy will be announced at the Baseball Winter Meetings Awards Luncheon on December 3. Feel free to make your predictions in the comments section.

Meet the MacPhail Nominees: Spokane Indians

Indians

The Larry
MacPhail Promotional Trophy is awarded annually to the Minor League team that
did the most outstanding promotional work during the recently concluded season.

This year,
11 teams (representing 11 leagues) have been nominated for the trophy, and the
winner will be announced on Dec. 3 at the Baseball Winter Meetings Awards
Luncheon. Over the next several weeks, this fine blog will run interviews with
representatives from each of the 11 nominated teams, in an effort to shine some
light on their promotional strategies and philosophies.

Today we speak with Sarah Cislo, assistant general manager of the Northwest League’s Spokane Indians (Class A Short-Season affiliate of the Texas Rangers). The Indians averaged 5,053 fans a game in 2007, the highest average in the club’s 104-year history.

Has your team ever been nominated for the MacPhail Award? If so, ever won it?

We have been nominated for this award 13 out of the last 15 years, but we have never won the national award.


In 25 words or less, what is your team’s general promotional strategy?

Our team’s general promotional strategy is to develop creative promotions that WOW fans, and sell as many advanced tickets as possible.

What were some of your biggest promotional successes from this past season? Anything that just didn’t work?

Our biggest promotional successes from the past season were our partnership with the SpokaneOttopointing_1

Tribe of Indians and the creation of our new logo. Also, the addition of an inflatable "Super OTTO" to complement our regular OTTO the mascot.

All of our nights were successful, however, a couple of nights proved to be pretty ironic including having rain on "Hawaiian Night" and having 101 degree temperature and sunshine on "Let it Rain Night."

What is your favorite sports promotion of all time?

Circle the bases is always a good one, since it is so fun to watch all of the kids on the field after the game. Also, you can never go wrong with a good fireworks show. It’s always great to hear the reaction from the crowd on those nights!

Now it’s time to start planning for 2008. Any tricks up your sleeve for next season?

Avistastadium2
We are planning a season-long celebration of the 50 years of Avista Stadium and we are also working on new pre-game and off-site events including a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk and a Motorcycle Rally.

Links:

Meet the MacPhails: Fort Myers Miracle, Tri-City ValleyCats, Jacksonville Suns, West Michigan Whitecaps, Reading Phillies, Toledo Mud Hens, Memphis Redbirds, Springfield Cardinals, Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Spokane Indians Home Page   

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