The growing influence of social media is simply too much for Minor League Baseball teams to ignore, leading to the increasing prominence of social media nights. That trend is explored in this edition of Promotions Watch, covering entries that range from weekly promotions to one-time events that are among the most creative in the minors this season.
Having fans engaged with their message is more crucial to teams than ever before, as smartphones and other devices put an array of entertainment options at consumers’ fingertips. While using social media channels to get fans to the ballpark is a strategy for most teams, several clubs want their fans to actively post throughout the game.
In some markets, social media is celebrated on a weekly basis. The Great Lakes Loons (Low A; Midwest League), Stockton Ports (High A; California League), Syracuse Chiefs (Class AAA; International League), and Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (High A; California League) feature social media Monday as a regular promotion, while the Carolina Mudcats (High A; Carolina League) offer Trending Tuesdays.
As one-time promotions, social media nights are not only becoming more common, but seem to be getting more creative. One of the best examples of that trend comes from the Durham Bulls (Class AAA; International League). On August 18, the Bulls will celebrate the best Instagram posts of the season with The InstaGrammys.
To enter, participants can post photos to Instagram throughout the season using #DurhamBulls. The Bulls will reward prizes as part of the promotion, which is also being paired with a $1 concession special that includes discounts on popcorn, soda, and hot dogs.
The Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League) will stage their social media night on June 3. As part of the promotion, the Bisons will open several fans polls on their social networks—including one in which participants can select the walk-up music for opposing batters—and will offer prizes to users.
June 4 is sure to be a busy afternoon at PNC Field, and the Scranton Wilkes/Barre RailRiders (Class AAA; International League) will encourage their fans to engage with the team through social media night. Among the other promotions that will occur that afternoon include a headphones giveaway, an appearance by Bucky Dent, Alzheimer’s awareness day—complete with a specialty jersey that will be auctioned for charity—and much more.
Fans of the Montgomery Biscuits (Class AA; Southern League) can look forward to social media night on June 30. Also included in that night’s offerings is Thirsty Thursday.
For the Iowa Cubs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), July 14 will mark the return of the popular annual promotion. For last year’s event, the Cubs rewarded numerous prizes—ranging from free tickets to autographs—to their social media followers, and promoted the event heavily over the days leading up to the promotion.
This year’s social media night will be a busy one at Principal Park, as several other promotions will be taking place, including a 2-for-1 ticket special, live pre-game music, and a free beer for mug club members. The Cubs will post details on Facebook and Twitter as the promotion comes closer.
On August 7, the Tennessee Smokies (Class AA; Southern League) will host a social media night that includes a promotion-themed t-shirt for the first 1,000 fans in attendance. That is part of a series in which the Smokies will give away a free item that pairs with the night’s theme, with the other entries including a chocolate bar for Willy Wonka night and water bottles for the team’s celebration of Space Jam.
This rundown would not be complete without a mention of the promotion that will be hosted by the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low A; Midwest League). On June 30, the Whitecaps will take the field in a social-media inspired emoji jersey.
Back in February, the Whitecaps open a poll that allowed fans to choose from one of three designs for a social media night jersey. The emoji uniform emerged as the clear winner, and one look at its design shows why. Building off of their home uniform, the Whitecaps incorporated a plethora of emojis all over the jersey. At first glance, the placement of the emojis seems to be rather random, but there is much more to the design. For instance, a baseball emoji dots the i in Whitecaps.
Apparently, this is a big year for the celebration of emojis among Michigan-based teams. The Kalamazoo Growlers (summer collegiate; Northwoods League) will wear their own emoji jersey on August 13. With a design that stands as a sharp contrast to the Whitecaps’ jersey, the Growlers’ uniform is distinguished enough to appeal to social media and baseball lovers alike. The Growlers will host that promotion on August 13.
With this slate of promotions, fans will have plenty to share this season. And as social media continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the possibilities for future promotions should only expand.