What do political corruption, Jimmy Buffett, Star Wars & Pro Wrestling all have what in common? The answer is the ARI Dbacks’ Class A affiliate, the Kane County Cougars. These promos are just a few of their ‘unique’ nightly game promos.  If you’ve been following with our PROMOTOPIA series (of Scopes) you have not seen the promo based on Soup Nazi (from the popular Seinfeld TV series) b/c it’s a Minors’ promo (Wilmington Blue Rocks KC ADV A) and how about the fact that 3 diff teams (Lehigh Valley Ironpigs [PHI- AAA], Nashville Sound [OAK- AAA] & State College Spikes [STL- A]) are having a human cannonball at their games, with  a trained professional (we hope) being shot out of an actual cannon! These promos have no shot at a MLB park. MLB with its 30 teams (and likely attendance of 73 M) have promos almost as a nicety;  the 244 minor league teams have promos as a necessity. (These parks will draw from 70 M – 80 M.) The “minors” are located in smaller media markets and the promos are often much more spectacular than your avg bobblehead (BBH) night. With the majors 2 wks into its season, we have 1 last PROMOTOPIA hoorah to spotlight the uniqueness of the minors’ major promos.


Minor League stadiums (mostly seat from 500 to 15,000 fans) may not have all of the fancy bells & whistles that the majors have, but the West MI White Caps (DET- A) are going to make sure that their fans get plenty of Cowbells by giving away 1,000 of them. If that sounds too noisy how about the Lynchburg Hellcats’ (CLE- Adv A) Nothing Night. It features nothing but good old fashioned baseball; NO walk up music, NO announcers, NO ads and NO promotions!


Some teams, like the Rome Braves (ATL-A), the Binghamton Mets (NYM- AA), & the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC- Adv A), will host more than the “away team” during their season. The Braves host Micro Championship Wrestling (a premier midget wrestling league). The Mets showcase the Extreme POGO Stunt Team (performing tricks on POGO sticks); and the Blue Rocks have a Cowboy Monkey Rodeo. With an actual Monkey riding a dog like a tiny cowboy!


Some people dream of leaving a baseball game with a foul ball, but one lucky fan at the Chattanooga Lookouts (MIN- AA), the Round Rock Express (TEX- AAA) and the Birmingham Barons (CWS- AA) games will leave their stadia with a new USED CAR! Also, a handful of lucky fans at the Quad Cities River Bandits (HOU- A) games will bring home either a Mini Fridge and/or an XBOX. Some fans at a Lowell Spinners’ (BOS- s.s.A) game will find that their hot dog could be worth up to $100 as the team gives away $1000 randomly to people buying hot dog$ at the conce$$ions.


Finally, we showcase the best theme show nights MiLB has to offer in 2016. The Akron RubberDucks (CLE- AA) and the Hagerstown Suns (WAS- A) will pay tribute to the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The Tennessee Smokies (CHC- AA), Lake County Captains (CLE- A), New Orleans Zephyrs (MIA- AAA) & Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI- AAA) will have a Top Gun themed night with fan participation. The Fort Wayne TinCaps (SD- A) will be saluting a fan favorite TV show, Friends. While the Charlotte Knights (CWS- AAA) & Columbus Clippers (CLE- AAA) have planned Caddyshack themed Nights with Michael O’Keefe (Danny Noonan) appearing at the Columbus game.


In our opinion these are among the most interesting and unique promotions in MiLB this season, but they most certainly are not the only ones. Don’t worry BBH collectors, the classic Bobblehead can still be found at almost every Midwest League stadium this summer. So stop by a minor league game near you sometime. Who knows, you might be watching a future MVP walk up to the plate and not even know it. PLAY BALL!

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or bernacmd@udmercy.edu. Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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