Promotions Lab: Great American Road Trip Night

No other sport is more tailor-made for family road trips than baseball. I’ll go further. Minor League Baseball is ideal for it.

Teams are relatively close together. Games are scheduled nearly every night. And, unlike the Major Leagues, costs aren’t astronomical. Families can afford seeing multiple Minor League games on a vacation without blowing their budgets.

Minor League Baseball can leverage this in a sport-wide promotion similar to this past season’s excellent Copa deLa Diversion. The broad goal is tying MiLB with family vacations (and fun), building on the family fun branding efforts of the last few years. I see a Great American Road Trip promo:

  • Offering ticket packages including games at multiple ballparks in a region.
  • Recruiting travel-related sponsors (hotel chains, travel centers, rental car companies, travel websites like Hotels.com and even quick oil change  places) to provide fan giveaways fostering an MiLB road trip.
  • Partnering with CVBs to create online travel guides to help fans find things to do and sites to see before games.

The idea may sound counterintuitive to team front offices, whose job is keeping fans in town to see the home team play. But collaborating with other league teams in your region, whether it’s one, two or more, can draw more visiting fans and get the home fans more invested in your team because they’ve followed the squad on the road. There’s something about travel that creates a bond.

Don’t be afraid to stoke civic pride, the undercurrent for the gigantic local food promotions of the past three seasons. Create a special T-shirt for fans who buy the away game ticket package. Team colors or gray (like a road jersey) with the home city name (like Greensboro) or nickname (like Gate City) on the front and dates of the road games listed on the back.

For the Great American Road Trip night at your ballpark, get those wheels turning to generate ideas for travel-themed contests, giveaways and more, like:

  • Suitcase-packing contest. Who can fit the most garments in a roll aboard?
  • Gas card giveaway to fans with lucky seat numbers.
  • Road sign test, like the one you may have failed when renewing or getting your license. Because hey, it’s genuinely difficult, okay?
  • That classic math word problem: “If your family minivan leaves home at 1:30 and is traveling an average of 55 mph …” I’ll let you do the math.
  • Liberal playing of this Lindsey Buckingham classic, which you also add on a road trip music list on Spotify that fans can play when they follow the team around!
  • Family road trip photos on the video board. (All moms like to show off their kids)
  • Who should throw out the first pitch? The team bus driver, of course. He/she is the ultimate baseball road tripper.
  • Human GPS. Recruit fans to give directions to the different teams/ballparks in the league. Prediction: they’ll all be dudes who think they’re right.

Know what else your fans can wear on their baseball road trip? The special All-American Road Trip game-worn jersey they bid on and won at the game! Below are several design concepts:

 

 

 

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