Greetings from Reno!
We’re hitting the home stretch on this year’s Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar, which kicked off Tuesday and concludes today (Friday). We’ve been here in Reno since Tuesday morning, along with executives from other MiLB teams across the country (Canada, too). As I’ve written about before in previous blog posts, this seminar is traditionally one of my favorites.
The best way I could describe it, is that the seminar brings all of us together, to share ideas and hopefully incorporate into the following season. Any idea is fair game: giveaway items, theme nights, ticket sales strategies, sponsorship packages and nearly anything else you could think of that involves our business. The seminar includes numerous group breakout sessions, where attendees can get into smaller groups that are divided into topics such as community relations, operations, marketing and more. With several of our staff here this week, we’ve been able to sit in multiple sessions and take a lot of information away from these portions of the seminar.
Tuesday was a long day. Travel-wise, we had a car take us to Midway at 5:15 AM, had the wheels down in Reno by 10:30 local, and were at the hotel by 11. The afternoon included several “group therapy” breakout sessions. I was asked several weeks ago to speak at one of the sessions and lead a group. My focus was on promotions, gimmicks, and ideas to keep relevant during the off-season months from October to March. We talked about our “Trick or Treat with Ozzie” contest, the Valentine’s Day Dinner contest, and some other promotions that we’ve had success with among our great fans. It was a good session, and a great dialogue between the 40 of us in the room easily filled the hour.
Yesterday morning was a great chance to feverishly jot down countless promotional ideas. The “Around the Horn” session gives each attendee a chance to introduce him/her self to the entire room, and provide 1 great promotional idea that worked for their organization this past season. This part of the seminar takes 3 hours or so to complete, but is a very good opportunity to extract some solid ideas to take back home following the seminar.
Thursday morning opened with the Golden Bobblehead presentations. Earlier this year, the Cougars organization was nominated as a “Best Theme Night” finalist for our Princess/Daddy Daughter Date Night. We, along with the other clubs who were nominated, were given 2 minutes to present their idea to the entire group.
What do you think of this idea from the Dunedin Blue Jays? This was one of the nominees from this morning. If you’re a fan of 8-bit Nintendo, particularly the game RBI Baseball, you’ll enjoy this one like I did. Click HERE to check out the video.
The afternoon continued with some great group therapy sessions. Last night, we were guests of the Reno Aces, who welcomed us to their ballpark for tours, a fantastic dinner, and some post-dinner festivities. While we came up short in the Golden Bobblehead’s ”Best Theme Night” category, the evening certainly was not lost. We had some great conversations with front office staff from numerous teams, including Fort Wayne, Salt Lake, and many more. The Aces were UNBELIEVABLE hosts, opening their stadium and showing us some fantastic hospitality. And I think it’s always cool to see a new park, including the parts of a stadium most fans would not get a chance to walk through. Yes, we’re nerds. We like to see EVERYTHING, such as another team’s press box, production room, clubhouses, administrative offices, and basically every nook of the facility. The Aces had as good a season as you could hope for: winning their league, as well as winning the Triple-A championship. Their team included a former Cougar from the ’07 squad: Sam Demel. Some visuals of their park are below.
Overall, Reno was a very cool city to see for the first time. I’ve had the chance to see some great places across the country through this seminar over the years (Memphis, Myrtle Beach, Austin) and Reno is right up there with all of them. It’s a beautiful part of the country.
We’ll be departing later this morning for Chicago, but not before having a great week with other clubs, collaborating on how we can make the 2013 season the best one yet for our fans. It’s seminars such as this one that remind me why our industry is so rewarding: continuing to be involved in a product that makes millions of fans through Minor League Baseball so thoroughly entertained each season. Thanks for reading!