If there’s an organized baseball team in your city (Major League or Minor League), this promotion is a “home run” for stations targeting men. The Home Run Derby is a big part of the MLB All Star Game. What if you gave regular guys in your audience a chance to participate in a local event?
In this article, I’ll share how to organize and stage a Home Run Derby in your market, including:
- Keys to making this a successful event.
- Sponsor opportunities to generate revenue.
The Regular Guy Home Run Derby
Every sports fan thinks they can throw a touchdown pass, sink a 3 point shot and hit a home run. It’s not as easy as you might think. But it makes a great promotion.
Batting practice in a major or minor league stadium is a Bucket List item for many guys. Here’s a chance to make those dreams come true in a relevant, relatable way.
It doesn’t require a major stadium, but that is a big part of the appeal. The promotion succeeds because of:
- Appeal to listener egoes that they can hit a dinger.
- The attraction of making a dream come true – batting practice in a stadium.
- The competition to be your city’s Home Run Derby champion.
There are many appealing aspects to this promotion event. One is that you don’t really need prizes. This is about the experience. It’s nice to have incentives, but don’t make it about “participate to win a prize”.
Good prizes include:
- Every participant gets tickets for their family to that game.
- Every participant gets a pair of tickets for a future game.
- Give each participant a copy of the official Home Run Derby video and still photos.
- Give a trophy or plaque to the winner of the competition.
- If you want to add prizes, autographed bats or balls are a nice touch.
- Offer a cash award ($100?) for anyone who hits an actual over-the-fence home run.
Execution Best Practices
Here are some execution tips:
- Work with promotion department with the team to organize and execute. They’re usually great in this type of event. Use their expertise.
- Best time for the event is early to mid July, when fans are talking about the MLB Home Run Derby. Try to do it after teams take their batting practice and before the pre-game activities begin.
- Sign up should be online to build the station database and qualify candidates.
- Limit number of players to about 10. More than that starts to take too long. You’ll have to work with the team on this so it fits into the time window they allow.
- At the event, limit the number of swings per participant to 5 swings. More than that gets really long, and can be boring to watch. It’s better to have more participating with fewer swings than vice-versa.
- Have air personalities participate. Offer an additional incentive for any participant that hits more home runs.
- Each participant should wear a jersey. The team will probably want to provide the jerseys. If not, have station jerseys made for each.
- Have the stadium announcer introduce each batter. It sounds big time and adds to the experience.
- Get video! And provide a free video to each participant. It’s a big part of the post-promotion.
- It would be unusual for any player to hit an actual home run. It’s HARD. That’s why I suggest offering a $100 bonus for anyone who hits a real home run.
- Since actual homers are not expected, set up cones in the outfield to be Home Run Derby home runs. Any ball landing beyond the cones in the air counts in the derby.
This promotion is loaded with potential for advertiser involvement. However, coordinate this with the team. They often have exclusive sponsors inside the ballpark. They may also be able to help sell the event and share in revenue opportunities.
Here are possible sponsor categories:
- Beer companies.
- Bat companies (Louisville Slugger, Eaton, etc.).
- Sporting Goods stores.
- Bars, nightclubs around the ballpark for a pre/post celebration.
Home Run Derby is a perfect promotion for any station targeting men, particularly Classic Rock, Classic Hits, Alternative, and of course, Sports Talk.