Promotional giveaways are a big part of a professional sports team's strategy to increase attendance. But what are these teams looking for in a giveaway? We spoke with Scott Brandreth, director of merchandising for the Philadelphia Phillies, who offered some big-league insight into the team's promotional giveaway approach.
1. Plan in Advance
Brandreth gathers new ideas for promotional items year-round from vendors and other teams, but soon after the current season ends, the team crafts the next season's promotional schedule. "And we'll just kind of have a brainstorming session about what we think, what's out there, what's hot, what are the trends, what did other teams have success with, what did we have success with," he explained. "We're always going to do the staples—the T-shirts, the hats [and] we've been doing two bobbles a year for 10 years now."
2. Gauging Success
The Phillies' top goal for a promotional giveaway is to get fans in the ballpark. Brandreth noted that giveaways can be a boost to sales in addition to reducing the no-show factor for ticketholders. "Maybe a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday game would [have] similar sales, but when there's a promotion—maybe on that Tuesday and it beats that Wednesday, then you know it worked pretty well because you sell more tickets, you have the people in the park, they're spending money on retail, they're spending money on food [and] parking, and they're hopefully enjoying the game and getting a cool giveaway," he said.
As with any promotional product, brand awareness is a valuable component for team giveaways, too, so Brandreth enjoys spotting the Phillies' giveaways around the city. "We want to have an item that people will wear back to the park or wear around town or display on their desk," Brandreth said. "I love when I go to a bar in Center City [Philadelphia] and see a bobblehead there or a rally towel or something. That's good. It's out there. It's getting our brand out there."