4 Million Bobbleheads? What MLB Teams Are Doing With Their Stockpiles of Unused 2020 Promos
Major League Baseball teams did everything they could to keep promo giveaways in place for fans last year, but there’s still an enormous stockpile of unused bobbleheads and other promos waiting for their time to shine/bobble.
Right now, a lot of them (actually, about four million of them) are in the Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (BDA) warehouse. CEO Jay Deutsch told ESPN that the company had to focus on storage rather than distribution while MLB ballparks were closed to fans.
“It all got put on hold,” Deutsch said. “It was a lot of what ifs. We had to work together to put together a Plan B, a Plan C, a Plan D. It was scenario planning for what would happen. Ultimately, there were no fans. Then it became Plan F, which was how to store everything and save it for next year. A couple of teams did creative things. Teams still wanted to engage fans, but when you don't have a stadium, it becomes kind of tough. But for the most part, the giveaway days are in a warehouse, waiting for 2021."
With the 2021 season almost here, a lot has changed since that first batch of bobbleheads. Players have moved to different teams, rendering their bobble likenesses outdated. What do teams do in those situations?
Well, for the giveaways that are still relevant, those can be used during this season. And, the good news for fans is that once they're allowed in the ballparks, there could be even more promotional days than usual, since teams already have plenty of products.
"If fans can be in the stands on Opening Day, I think it's going to be the year of the fan," Deutsch said. "There's going to be so many more giveaways and a lot of teams are planning on utilizing last year's stuff in the first half of the season, as fast as possible. In the second half, they can do things that are focused on 2021."
For teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers, who still have thousands of bobbleheads of players who have left the team, the only real solution is a giveaway in the hopes that people still want to commemorate a player’s time with the franchise.
The Rangers plan to have a giveaway every Saturday and Sunday through August, eventually working through the more than 10,000 boxes of leftover bobbleheads intended for 2020.
As any good GM does, Chuck Morgan, Rangers executive vice president of presentation, production and promotions, is assessing each bobblehead’s value and potential for the future.
"I had to juggle it again today to move the Elvis [Andrus] bobblehead, but we'll still give those away because he's been so great for the franchise," Morgan told ESPN. "The [Mike] Minor, [Lance] Lynn and the [Corey] Kluber—those will be handed out on tours and we'll sell some at our Foundation table. I'm holding onto [Shin-Soo] Choo, because if he retires, the club will have a day for him, or if he comes back on another team, we'll give them away then."
Trevor Williams, who had a Star Wars-themed bobblehead giveaway scheduled for last August, left Pittsburgh for Chicago. But the Pirates still sent 200 of his bobbleheads to his Phoenix home.
I had about 75 of these guys show up on my porch. The exclusive-never-before-seen-bobblehead-that-was-supposed-to-be-a-giveaway-in-2020 😂 I’ll be doing my own giveaway soon! Stay tuned pic.twitter.com/UJwe3JhseU
— Trevor Williams (@MeLlamoTrevor) January 26, 2021
Now it’s up to him to figure out how to get rid of them himself, so he’s giving some away via Twitter. In the end, though, 200 bobbleheads in your garage is nothing compared to the 9,800 still left for the Pirates to handle.