Results tagged ‘ the future ’

Pensacola Provokes Pedagogical Pursuits

I’ve written in the past about using Minor League Baseball as a tool to teach sports marketing at the high school and collegiate level, and have since heard from several teachers doing just this.

A particularly thorough example comes courtesy of Shawn Crull, who teaches a sports marketing class at Indiana’s Fishers High School. Inspired by this post on Pensacola’s “Name the Team” contest, Crull put together the following assignment:

Your Sports Marketing Company (you create a name) has been approached by the city of Pensacola, FL.  They have been awarded a AA minor league baseball team in the Southern League for 2012. The city has narrowed the nickname choices down to a final six – Redbones, Loggerheads, Blue Wahoos, Mullets, Aviators, and Salty Dogs.  That is where you and your colleagues come into the picture.

After selecting one of the names, the students were tasked with creating a team logo, mascot, uniforms, team website, and promotional events.  Some examples of the students’ work follows, presented as coherently as my file conversion skills would allow.

Update: More student uniform designs, many of them awesome, can be seen HERE. Crull’s own designs are HERE. The Pensacola club has since been named the Blue Wahoos, with Plan B Branding in charge of creating the logos and identity.

Loggerheads Logo

Loggerheads Mascot

Blue Wahoos Logo

Not-at-all terrifying Blue Wahoos mascot

Blue Wahoo Uniforms

Wahoo Opening Day Promotional Plan

Mullets Opening Day Promotion

So there you go –a great way to get students to engage with the proverbial “nuts and bolts” of a career in sports.

Crull wrote that his students really seemed to enjoy this assignment, and hopefully other educators will be inspired to follow suit. What I like best about projects such as these is that they get students thinking about a career in Minor League Baseball and what that would entail. When I was a student, the thought of working in this industry never occurred to me despite the fact that I was a huge baseball fan. A project such as the above may very well have provided the necessary motivation, saving me from years of unfocused occupational wandering in the process.

Thanks to Crull for getting in touch. Who will be next?

Teaching the Business of the Ballpark

Thumbnail image for cougars.gifI recently dedicated a post to the topic of using Minor League Baseball as a tool to teach sports marketing. This was inspired by the fact that high school teachers and college marketing professors regularly link to my blog, using the content therein to explain how the industry operates and why.

But my blog operates strictly in the digital realm. Offering a more hands-on experience are the Kane County Cougars, who last season began to offer a series of high school sports business seminars. Cougars director of public relations Shawn Touney writes:

[W]e provide a presentation at the ballpark and tangibly show them our operation and answer any questions they might have about how we market our product, career opportunities, and nearly everything in between. And obviously, it drives some revenue our way and taps into a demographic that goes unnoticed in many Minor League parks.


I never would have guessed the response we would get…What began as setting aside a single seminar session time for an April noon game became a series of three dates, with 2 seminars scheduled for each of those 3 dates, to accommodate the schools who were interested in attending. When it was said and done, we had just under 1,000 students representing nearly 30 high schools throughout Chicagoland. Marketing classes, business classes, entrepreneurship classes, accounting classes – it ran the gamut. I couldn’t believe how many teachers were appreciative that something such as this was offered, which tells me that a lot of teams (big league clubs included) have not considered this.

This year, we’re offering something similar for each of our 7 noon games in April/May, with a staff-led seminar and ballgame to follow at noon. We will surpass last year’s numbers in terms of total attendance, number of participating schools, and revenue generated. The geography of the schools amazes me – we have schools  coming from a 75-minute driving radius for this. We will also be hosting some fall sports business seminars in late August/early September for fall semester classes, and actually have set aside a few college nights for sport management clubs and majors who are interested in learning more.


After the presentation, the students are given supplementary materials that guide them toward viewing the ballgame from a business perspective. A sample problem:

You are a new business owner who is looking to make a splash in the Chicagoland area, bringing new customers and revenue to your business. You’re at the game this afternoon, and observing how many different opportunities there are to market your product to an audience. Here are two examples you notice:

Souvenir Giveaway

Outfield Billboard

List any other marketing opportunities for your business that you see or hear during the game.

And in 2011, the program will expand even further. Writes Touney:


Reading your blog helped spawn an idea to make the event even more interactive, by having the schools, upon returning into the classroom, create a video presentation where they essentially come up with a between-innings promotion and explain not just how they’d market the promotion, but how they’d execute it as well. I don’t think we give high schoolers enough credit; their knowledge of popular trends, fads, insight on social media are just a few examples that come to mind.

Touney’s final point is one I agree with wholeheartedly — in addition to exposing the students to new concepts, the teams staging such seminars could benefit from the creative and culturally-relevant ideas offered by the students.

So how is else is doing/might do something of this nature? Let’s hear it!

Apologies that today’s post has been wonkier than Willie’s chocolate factory. To make up for it, here’s an artist’s rendering of the Reading Phillies’ highly-anticipated Carlos Ruiz “Chooching Owl” giveaway. Remember, this thing is actually going to say “Chooch.”


Oh, so it’s more you want, is it? Well, here’s footage of Charlie Sheen spoutin’ his bull to a Bull. Hornsby, the soon-to-be-revamped mascot of the Tulsa Drillers, really shows his range here.

As usual, I implore anyone to get in touch for any reason.

Stone Cold Hot Stove Speculation

tuxtee.jpgWe are in the midst of “Hot Stove Dinner” season, that time of year when teams stage gala banquets featuring distinguished celebrity speakers, memorabilia auctions, and awkward jokes from suit-wearing media relations directors pressed into MC duty.

I’ve already written about these dinners in the past, and an exhaustive rundown of that which has or will take place would exhaust the reader while making me feel run down. But in the interest of stirring up what passes for debate these days, I’d like to remark that the Richmond Flying Squirrels have put together what I believe is this year’s best Hot Stove Dinner line-up:

— Darryl Strawberry
richmond_stove.jpg— Billy Wagner
— Tommy John
— Javier Lopez (San Francisco Giants reliever)
— Eddie Kasko (Played for the International League’s Richmond Virginians, 1954-56)
— The entire Flying Squirrels 2011 field staff
— Pat O’Conner, president of Minor League Baseball

Remarkable, no? Would anyone care to dispute my assertion that this is the year’s best Hot Stove line-up? If so, put your disputation into email form and send to

But let’s face it, Hot Stove Dinners are little more than a way to pass the time during the interminable offseason void. One indication that said void is on its way out is that teams have begun releasing 2011 promotional schedules. Observe:

sheik.jpgLehigh Valley Iron Pigs (favorite promo: Harry Kalas bobblehead, May 16)
Lakewood BlueClaws (favorite promo: appearance by tag-team tandem of Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, June 11 )
Inland Empire 66ers (favorite promo: Lucha Libre Mask Giveaway, July 22)

Also, in the “weekly promo” category, the Lake Elsinore Storm have announced the alliterative beauty that is “Wacky Weenie Wednesday.” All fans receive free hot dogs through the seventh inning.

There will be plenty more where all this came from, but like an opponent of the Iron Sheik or an empty beer keg I’m all tapped out for now. Well, except for this. It’s a video featuring Conrad the easily-distracted costumed crustacean:

Lancaster's Seemingly Endless Procession of Undulating Figurines

Thumbnail image for lancaster_jethawks_primary_logo_2_3.jpgMost of my writing as of late as been focused on offseason events and initiatives. This is because it is the offseason.

But what I enjoy more than the offseason is “the season”. This is why I was happy to receive an email from Lancaster JetHawks media manager Will Thornhill, filling me in on the club’s admirably ambitious 2010 bobblehead giveaway schedule. 

Now I, in turn, will fill you in, mainly by copying liberally from the aforementioned email. Here goes:

[W]e have a great promotion going on [in 2010]
and I thought other clubs may be open to
KB.JPG doing the same thing, as it has
garnered us a lot of local press coverage.

Next season will mark our 15th in Lancaster and to celebrate we have named next years’ theme “15 Years
of Hangar Heroes”. As one of the many Hero-themed giveaways we plan
on having, we are going to give away 15 different bobble heads throughout the
course of the season, most of which will be voted on by the fans during the
off-season by going to our website. We have announced that our own
“Jim the Beer Man” who has been pouring fresh brews for fans since
game one at the Hangar and “Dancin’ Darryl”, an usher that frequently
gets the crowed charged up by dancing on top of the dugouts, will be
immortalized next season with their own bobble heads and Dan Uggla was the
first to be voted in by the fans just a few weeks ago.  We also plan to
have all three versions of our mascot KB, a booster club member, and other
players to be later voted on.

Now, 2010 isn’t even in existence yet, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that the JetHawks will be the team to beat when it comes to bobblehead giveaways. One of the reasons I am predicting this is because it will make other teams indignant, resulting in additional emails and, thus, more content for this insatiable, content-devouring blog.

Anyway, more from Thornhill:

We have also adopted a super hero/comic
book theme for all of our direct marketing pieces including postcards and
our ticket guide.  Below is a piece we have been distributing throughout
our community caravan stops.

Lancaster bobble promo.JPG

Now seems a opportune time to note that the JetHawks were responsible for what is quite possibly my favorite bobblehead of all time. In 2007 the club was a Red Sox affiliate, so they decided to simultaneously honor Boston slugger David Ortiz and California’s state flower.

Big Poppy:

Thumbnail image for BIG POPPY.JPG

I’ll close with a reminder that I will be in attendance at the Baseball Winter Meetings next week. If you will be there as well we should shake hands and exchange business cards and maybe even commiserate over complimentary plastic cups of domestic draft.