Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Creative Promotion Surrounding Bryce Harper

As Bryce Harper’s hype machine continues to spit out numbers we haven’t seen since, well, Stephen Strasburg, Harper continues to be the most talked about Class A prospect I have ever seen.  However, Bryce Harper's immense media attention allows teams at the minor league level to get creative with their promotions.

Take this for example.   Bryce Harper’s Hagerstown Suns (Class A Washington Nationals) were in Lakewood, New Jersey for a series against the Lakewood Blueclaws (Class A Philadelphia Phillies).  So what was the promotion for the game?  If a Lakewood pitcher stuck out Harper, then every fan in attendance (8,217 came out for this Class A game) would get a 20% off voucher for the local IHOP restaurant.  Of course the promotion was not what drew the crowd in, but personally I think it is a very creative way to incorporate the opponent’s star player into a marketing plan.

I always wonder why MLB teams with falling attendance do not take more after the marketing genius of minor league baseball.  Promotions in the minors create a family experience that is unmatched in many sports at almost all levels.  I understand the whole pride element in the MLB; teams don’t want to feel reduced to a minor league level.  Creating a more family friendly environment could allow a team to leave ticket prices where they are.  There is always a fine line between lowering ticket prices and adding more promotional value.  I think when desperate times call for desperate measures; more promotional value and even a minor shift in demographic (more towards families) could never hurt.

Bryce Harper handled the promotion with grace when he joked with reporters after the game, “I hope I get a voucher”.

-Article based on ESPN.com writer Jerry Crasnick’s “Bryce Harper’s Journey in its early stage”.

-Written by Kevin Rossi

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