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Promotions Watch: Football Nights

LA Rams Night

With the calendar moving into August, many sports fans are turning their attention to the gridiron for the start of the next football season. Recognizing this trend, teams around Minor League Baseball are rolling out unique football nights. The most notable of those events will be covered in our latest Promotions Watch.

As was noted in last year’s installment of this post, football nights represent a bittersweet transition for fans and teams. While the arrival of football is a welcomed sight for many, it also signals the final phases of the baseball season.

This year, as the clock winds down on the baseball season, several teams are hosting unique events. The Inland Empire 66ers (High A; California League) are taking an interesting approach, as they derive inspiration from one of the year’s biggest stories: the return of the Los Angeles Rams.

On August 12, the 66ers will host Welcome Back LA Rams night at San Manuel Stadium. Along with appearances by the Rams cheerleaders and mascot, the 66ers will stage a jersey giveaway. The jersey is a football-style uniform that features the Rams colors and the 66ers logo.

The Kane County Cougars (Low A; Midwest League) will honor Nothern Illinois University (NIU) with a theme night on August 11 that includes an appearance by former quarterback Chandler Harnish. Additionally, the Cougars will give out 1,500 bobbleheads of their mascot, Ozzie T. Cougar.

Tapping into the rich football tradition of Penn State, the State College Spikes (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) will host a Christian Hackenburg bobblehead giveaway on August 13. Hackenburg is Penn State’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdown.

College football is big in the Southeast, and the Chattanooga Lookouts (Class AA; Southern League) are tapping into that craze for their football night. On August 20, the Lookouts will host College Football Night, an event that features football ticket giveaways, including a prize for the SEC Championship Game.

The Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) will feature a similar promotion on August 25. As part of their College Football Night, the GreenJackets will offer $1 off drinks to any fan wearing college football gear.

The Southern League is particularly robust when it comes to football nights. On August 12, the Birmingham Barons will feature Football Kick-Off Night, a promotion that includes a mini football giveaway. The Jacksonville Suns will also stage a football night on August 26, which will include a post-game fireworks show.

One of college football’s most notable rivalries will be celebrated by the Montgomery Biscuits. For their final Thirsty Thursday on September 1, the Biscuits will host Auburn/Alabama Night, encouraging fans of both schools to come out to the ballpark.

The Tennessee Smokies will honor the University of Tennessee with UT Weekend from August 19-21. On the 20th, the Smokies will hand out bobbleheads of current Tennessee head coach Butch Jones.

The Norfolk Tides (Class AAA; International League) are encouraging fans of all teams to show up for their unique promotion on August 22. For the event, the Tides will keep a tally of which teams are represented with the most fans in attendance—with fans wearing gear that supports their favorite team. Once the results have been tabulated, one fan of the well represented team in Harbor Park will win a free jersey.

On August 28, the Reading Fightin Phils’ (Class AA; Eastern League) will have a pre-game, on-field football clinic. That promotion will be part of a busy day at FirstEnergy Stadium, as the team is also planning a Maikel Franco golden bobblehead giveaway and a post-game auction for their commemorative 50 season jerseys.

Fans in Aberdeen can get an early start on football Sundays, as the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) are including football night with a round of promotions that include fireworks and dollar hot dogs on August 14. Elsewhere in Maryland, the Bowie Baysox (Class AA; Eastern League) are designating August 19 as Football Friday, an event that will include football-themed contests.

On August 15, the Leigh High Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League) will get fans ready for the football season’s cold weather by handing out USA football blankets. The blankets will be available to the first 3,000 fans 18 and older.

The Peoria Chiefs (Low A; Midwest League) will feature football night as part of a packed slate of promos on August 13. Also on that night, the first 1,000 fans 13 and older will receive a camo Chiefs cap, and there will be a post-game fireworks display.

Once the calendar turns to September, fans can look forward to a good football night from the Eugene Emeralds (Short Season A; Northwest League). On September 2, the Emeralds will feature U of O Appreciation Night, a football-centric tribute to the University of Oregon. As part of the promotion, the Emeralds will feature a t-shirt giveaway.

Perhaps the most elaborate football night comes from the Akron RubberDucks (Class AA; Eastern League). Their version of football night—set for August 13—will recognize Cleveland’s rich football history.

In addition to an auction for replica Browns jerseys that will be worn by the RubberDucks that night, the team is also staging a fans choice bobblehead giveaway. As part of this promotion, fans will be able to select from either Kevin Mack or Ernest Byner. In 1985, Mack and Byner made history by becoming just the third pair of teammates in NFL to both rush for 1,000 or more yards in a season.

These promotions will keep fans coming out to the ballpark, even as their attentions turn to football.

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