Over the years, minor league teams have tried just about everything to get butts into their ballparks. Fake Tim Tebows, nun massages, Mike Vick doggy toys, you name it - a minor league team will give away anything in order to gain some publicity and sell some tickets. It’s not all Mike Veeck’s fault, but the minor league mogul has been behind some of the more out-there promotions over the years at the St. Paul Saints and other, even more obscure teams.
(It’s a conspiracy!)
But at least two minor league baseball teams are discovering that a team doesn’t have to push the boundaries of sanity, good taste, and intellectual property to get people excited about a promotion. Americans, as it turns out, are a simple folk, motivated by the chance to see hundred-year-old technology and, of course, candy.
Two Illinois-based minor league teams, the Joliet JackHammers and the Quad Cities River Bandits, started hiring a helicopter to fly over games and throw out candy. It’s simple, it’s old-fashioned, it seems like a non-starter to me … and it’s a wild success.
The next big thing in minor league baseball could be (drum roll, please) helicopters. Two minor league teams – the Midwest League’s Quad City River Bandits and the Northern League’s Joliet JackHammers – used helicopters to draw in fans and make some unique memories.
In the River Bandits’ case, the team loaded up the helicopter with ten bags of candy (anything from mini candy bars to marshmallows and chocolate-covered pretzels, all of which was packaged) for the first ever Mega-Candy Drop on July 26.
[…]The promotion worked as the team sold 2,000 tickets over the Sunday average. The River Bandits had more than 800 children on the field for the promotion, according to Goodman.
Kids going nuts over high-fructose corn syrup dropped from a helicopter at a sporting event. There is no way this could ever happen anywhere other than the United States of America. We might be a country of easily-impressed consumers, but dammit - it’s kind of endearing anyway.