Des Moines, IA is preparing to host a major Minor League Baseball event, as it will welcome the 2018 Promotional Seminar in September. Des Moines is home to the Iowa Cubs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and their home ballpark, Principal Park. The Promo Seminar will run from September 24-27.
With the business of baseball being the focal point of the seminar, it only seems fitting that the event be held in Des Moines. After all, the most brilliant promotional idea in baseball history, playing games at night, started in Des Moines on May 2, 1930, when Lee Keyser forever changed baseball at all levels by installing permanent lights at Western League Park.
While Keyser’s idea 88 years ago in Des Moines may have saved Minor League Baseball following the Great Depression, the game has since flourished, in large part because of the unique, fun and exciting promotions, many of which were generated at the annual Promotional Seminar.
“The Promotional Seminar has truly become the ‘must attend’ event of the year for Minor League Baseball team executives because of the innovative ideas they can take back to their teams and implement for next season,” said Minor League Baseball chief operating officer Brian Earle. “We believe the teams will benefit from additional specialized sessions and the extra day we added this year.”
Some of the new features of the Promotional Seminar include summits dedicated to community relations, video production and club operations.
“Minor League Baseball teams have remarkable creativity and success, not only in promotions, but throughout their ballparks and communities,” said Stefanie Loncarich, Minor League Baseball’s director of special events. “These best practices and wealth of ideas can now be shared more in depth at the unique forum of the summits at the expanded Promotional Seminar.”
In recent years, Des Moines has received high praise from various outlets, making it a “must visit” city. In 2017, Sports Business Journal/Daily ranked it the “Number One Minor League Sports City” in America, while Forbes ranked Des Moines as the “Best Place For Business” in 2010 and 2013. In 2014, NBC ranked Des Moines as the “Wealthiest City in America” based on their formula. The city of Des Moines is recognized as the third-largest “insurance capital” of the world and is headquarters to the Principal Financial Group, Meredith Corporation, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and EMC Insurance, among many others.
“We’ve known what a special place Des Moines is for a long time, but the secret is out that this is a thriving city and a great place to live and work,” said Iowa Cubs president and general manager Sam Bernabe. “We’re pretty sure the Promotional Seminar attendees will enjoy their visit to our great city.”
In the summertime, the city is a baseball hotbed, and despite being based in one of the smallest Triple-A markets, the Iowa Cubs have long been one of the top draws at the Triple-A level. Since cracking the half-million-fans mark for the first time in 2002, the club has now accomplished the feat 12 times in the last 16 years and finishes in the top half of Pacific Coast League attendance on a regular basis.
The franchise has claimed Minor League Baseball’s John H. Johnson President’s Award twice (1978 and 2002) and the Larry MacPhail Promotional Award in 1986. In 2014, Baseball America selected Bernabe as the Minor League Baseball Executive of the Year.
“We’ve been blessed with great local ownership that believes in the fan experience being the most important thing,” said Bernabe. “When you combine that with a tremendous staff and a very passionate fan base, not to mention a beautiful downtown ballpark in a thriving city, it’s a great recipe for sustained success.”
After a season-long celebration of 50 years of Triple-A baseball in Des Moines in 2018, Minor League Baseball and the I-Cubs look forward to hosting the Promotional Seminar at the brand-new Hilton Des Moines Downtown and partnering with Meals from the Heartland for the annual MiLB Charities Community Service Project. Meals from the Heartland packages meals for the starving around the world and has produced millions of meals since the organization began in 2008.