A new offering for Ballpark Digest readers debuts today: We’re upping our coverage of promotions across all lines of baseball — MLB, MiLB, indy, summer collegiate, college — with the introduction of a weekly column. Today: a roundup of recent promo announcements.
Anything related to Star Wars is promotional gold, whether it’s a rebel jersey or Darth Vader throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. The Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League) have built a promotional franchise around Star Wars with annual events the last seven years, and they’re returning this season with a Jedi Robe Jerseys giveaway on July 18.
It’s a successful franchise: Star Wars Night has drawn a sold-out crowd of 18,025 each of the past two seasons for the Bisons and will surpass the 100,000 fan mark with this year’s event. The event includes the appearance of over 50 characters from the North Ridge and the 501st Garrison Star Wars fan clubs, the sale of commemorative laser swords (to benefit a local charity, Compass House), a continuous storyline played out on the Bisons HD Scoreboard and a postgame on-field battle and fireworks show.
This year marks the sixth consecutive year the Bisons players will have their own Star Wars Nights Jerseys. This season’s Jedi Robe Jerseys are brown and tan, resembling the classic Jedi outfit. The robe is opened slightly on the jersey to reveal the Knight’s primary weapon, a holstered lightsaber. The Bisons Star Wars Night logo is featured on the jersey’s left chest.
The Bisons have built two ticket offers around Star Wars Night: The Star Wars Night 4-Pack features four tickets, four hot dog/Coca-Cola coupons and one laser sword for only $72 (additional laser swords can be purchased for $7 each). The Bisons have also brought back the popular Star Wars Night Super Pack for $49, which features a game ticket, a laser sword and admission to an exclusive pregame character meet n’ greet and all-you-can eat buffet.
You can expect another slew of Star Wars promotions this season, especially on May 4: May the Fourth Be With You. Also participating in the Star Wars frenzy: the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) with a June 20 Star Wars promo, with the team wearing custom Darth Vader-inspired jerseys and a variety of Star Wars characters from the 501st New England Garrison are scheduled to be at the game; the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Class AAA; International League) have scheduled Star Wars Night on May 23 with a Champ-Vader bobble waist giveaway; and the Midland RockHounds (Class AA; Texas League), who have scheduled an entire Star Wars Weekend, complete with storm trooper uniforms.
Another: the Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League) Glow-in-the-dark light saber cap giveaway.
Another film served as the basis of a 2015 promotion, as the Montgomery Biscuits (Class AA; Southern League) will be giving away Back to the Future themed jerseys as a part of a special Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Celebration.
June 27 will mark the first time in twelve seasons that the Biscuits will wear custom-themed jerseys. The jerseys, based off of Marty McFly’s (played by Michael J. Fox) classic ensemble from the first movie of the trilogy, feature his iconic burnt orange vest, white-checkered shirt, and denim jacket. The Biscuits script logo is displayed across the front of the jersey in the familiar Back to the Future color scheme. The promo night features Back to the Future décor, costumes, trivia and music on June 27.
Jerseys will be auctioned off during the game with proceeds benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
By the way, the aforementioned Fisher Cats are two-for-two on the promo watch: on July 17, the team will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future with appearances by the “Part I Tribute DeLorean Time Machine” and Marty McFly’s “Hero Truck.” Also in on the celebration: the Gary SouthShore RailCats (independent; American Association). The RailCats will wear uniforms modeled on Marty McFly’s iconic orange vest, plaid shirt, and denim jacket from the 1985 movie. Jerseys will be auctioned off during the game with proceeds supporting the Hobart Jaycees Foundation.
One piece of baseball connected to Back to the Future franchise: In Back to the Future II, it was noted that the Chicago Cubs would win the 2015 World Series. The Joliet Slammers (independent; Frontier League) are using that as the basis of a July 24 promo, Back to the Future Night.
“When Back to the Future II predicted the Cubs would win the World Series in 2015, people thought it was an amusing, but unlikely prediction,” said Slammers General Manager Chris Franklin. “Sports writers agree that the Cubs now have a legitimate chance to have a successful season, and we want to be the first to say the Cubs will absolutely be World Series champions in 2015.”
During Back to the Future Night, the Slammers will celebrate the years of 1885, 1955, 1985 and end up back in 2015. Any fan that drives a DeLorean to the game will receive a free ticket to the game. During the game, fans can participate in movie trivia and anyone that arrives with a working hoverboard will receive Slammers season tickets for life. After the game, fans will be treated to a Back to the Future themed fireworks show. As a bonus, fans that have a ticket stub from the July 24th game will receive a free ticket to any 2016 Slammers game if the Cubs fail to win the 2015 World Series.
We already saw the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High Class A; Carolina League) tie a promotion to #DeflateGate and the New England Patriots. Joining in: the Trenton Thunder (Class AA; Eastern League), with a Sept. 2 giveaway of “deflated” footballs. From the team:
When the first shipment was received at Arm & Hammer Park this week, the footballs inside were found to be deflated well under MiLB Giveaway standards.
“We have launched a full investigation and the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that the footballs that we were planning to give away in September have been deflated like the ones used in the AFC Championship game between the Patriots and Colts,” said General Manager Will Smith. “Our top investigator, Boomer, is on the case.”
A source close to the investigation has said that over 40 interviews of front office personnel have been conducted but the team is no closer to finding the culprit.
“I’m not a football expert like Mona Lisa Vito is a car expert, but I can say that those footballs were definitely deflated” said Will Smith. “If nothing comes from the investigation, we plan to give away the deflated footballs as is.”
The Thunder also announced a first slate of promos for the season. Perhaps the most intriguing: Clocks in a Can, presented by NJEA, set for Aug. 21. “It’s a clock that is in a can,” Thunder GM Smith said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
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