The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of Major League Baseball have the best promotions and giveaways in professional sports. Hands-down. Granted baseball plays more home games than any other sport, however they’ve always had the best in the way of giveaways, be it t-shirts, caps, bobble heads, etc. And of course the new thing is the garden gnome’s.
Giveaway nights/days are always big draws at the box office. And while teams want to give off the impression that the giveaways are a way to thank their customers for their business, let’s face it in reality it’s about getting derriere’s in the seats. Giveaways and promotions do just that.
Having said all of this, what new things could the Orioles look to do in 202 and onward? The idea of letting people bring two kids to the game free starting a couple of years back was genius. Now I”ll be the first one to tell you that I don’t feel that enough fans are taking advantage of that, but the fact is that it’s out there. But is there anything earth-shattering like that which could be done?
Honestly, I’m not sure that there is. However there’s one area in which the Orioles might fall a little short in terms of the gameday experience. And that would be concessions. Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re in any part of the seating bowl, the quality and selection of food at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is excellent. However a lot of teams across sports are now offering minor discounts on non-alcoholic food and beverage items during the game (for season ticket holders). And when I say “minor discounts,” I mean generally between $1-$2 off.
Furthermore, lots of teams across sports also offer “happy hours” at their games. In fact, the Orioles used to do this; back when what’s now the Leinenkugel Louge on the lower level first base concourse was the “Natty Boh Bar,” they offered a happy hour. From the time the ballpark opened until the end of the first inning National Bohemian Beer was $5/cup. Why not bring that idea back? And it doesn’t have to be throughout the entire ballpark – pick one bar or concession stand and offer the happy hour there.
The drawback to that idea is that the Orioles already offer 12 oz Bud/Miller/Coors for $6.50. Furthermore fans can already bring their own food into the ballpark at will. So is offering a happy hour or discounted food for season ticket holders going to bring more people to games? Probably not.
But what it will do is enhance the gameday experience for the fans that are already coming. And that’s the whole idea. The more you enhance that experience, the more enjoyable it is, and the more people out to games you’ll get. And that’s the whole name of the game.