We launch our new weekly promotions column with a look at the most notable ways teams are bringing fans into the ballpark. This week: the Madison Mallards go small with MiniKISS; the Northwest Arkansas Naturals go big with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders; and the Albuquerque Isotopes bring back 50-cent hot dogs.
New for Ballpark Digest this season: a weekly roundup of promotions from the baseball world.
We have an early contender for most notable promotion of the year: the Madison Mallards (summer collegiate; Northwoods League) announced that MiniKISS, the KISS tribute band making a big splash during this year’s Super Bowl broadcast in a Dr Pepper commercial, will be hitting Warner Park on Aug. 6.
The band, who achieved fame with a tribute to the music of KISS, will sign autographs during the Mallards game and perform a post-game concert at an as-yet-announced Madison location.
As far as we can tell this isn’t part of a formal ballpark tour, so it’s possible this is the only ballpark MiniKISS is visiting. The Mallards already get pretty good press in the Madison area, but this goes beyond that.
(UPDATE: This isn't the first time MiniKISS has done a ballpark appearance, which decreases the impact in Madison. The band appeared last season at a New Orleans Zephyrs game in a gig heavily promoted in the area. Mike Schline and crew deserve credit for being visionaries; they booked the band before the Super Bowl commercial.)
Speaking of big-name appearances: the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Class AA; Texas League) are bringing in the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders for a July 24 games as part of the team’s promotional slate. You really can’t go wrong with pro-football cheerleaders, and the Dallas squad is amongst the best in the NFL.
The Naturals’ promotional schedule also includes the largest number of fireworks shows in team history — 15, including opening day at Arvest Ballpark — and a slew of giveaways, including a Snuggie night and BBQ Apron night.
Speaking of fireworks: the Reading Phillies (Class AA; Eastern League) are hosting 28 — that’s right, 28 — post-game fireworks shows this season at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“Fans love fireworks, so let’s give them 28 great shows this season,” said R-Phils GM Scott Hunsicker. “After each of the 28 games, fans will be treated to a real blast, as our fireworks shows are truly unique and provide fun for all.”
The Great Lakes Loons (Low Class A; Midwest League) aren’t quite as ambitious as Reading when it comes to fireworks shows — 12 are scheduled at the Dow Diamond for 2010 — but the team is bringing back its popular Family Feast Night during eight Tuesdays on the schedule.
Sponsored by Chemical Bank, Family Feast Nights take place at each Tuesday home game. Fans can purchase hot dogs, ice cream sandwiches and 12 oz. Coke products for just $1 each.
The team is also bringing back its Tigers Legends Series. The series features three in-person appearances by Tigers greats and three Tigers bobblehead giveaways. Players scheduled to visit are three-time AL All-Star and 1968 World Series MVP Mickey Lolich (June 17), four-time AL All-Star Willie Horton (July 8) and a repeat visit from two-time NL All-Star Darrell Evans (August 19), who previously came to Dow Diamond for the Home Run Derby during 2008’s All-Star Festivities. Bobbleheads to be given away are Cecil Fielder (June 3), Bill Freehan (July 22) and Norm Cash (September 2).
The Albuquerque Isotopes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) are bringing back 50-Cent Hot Dog Night, which last season drew a season-high crowd of 11,010 to Isotopes Park. The team sold 37,669 franks (an average of 3.42 dogs per person), the most ever eaten in an Isotopes promotion that dates back to the team’s inaugural year in 2003.
The team will also celebrate the city’s history as the former home of the Albuquerque Dukes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) on July 17, when the ‘Topes distribute Tommy Lasorda Dukes bobbleheads, depicting the former Dukes manager in the uniform he wore while in Albuquerque in 1972.
The Lake County Captains (Low Class A; Midwest League) are expanding their offer of $2 ducats to Eastlake residents in 2010. The $2 ticket offer is good for all Captains home games from the opening night of April 8 through May 12.
The Altoona Curve (Class AA; Eastern League) announced that a total of 20 fireworks shows will be part of their 2010 promotional schedule and that beginning May 30, the summer time tradition of Sunday night fireworks shows following Curve games will continue. The 20 shows are an increase of five shows from the 2009 calendar.
Also, check out our story on one of the better promotions ever: the Lowell Spinners' quest to rid New England of Yankees.
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