Sports Branding Lessons from the Orioles' 'Homer Hose'
The Baltimore Orioles are starting a new tradition where any time someone hits a home run, they have to chug water out of the "Homer Hose." It's exactly what it sounds like: It's a hose with a funnel at the top, almost exactly like a beer bong, but I don't think the Orioles organization would let them call it that.
However, being that I'm not employed by the O's, I can call it that. It's a beer bong, they're just drinking water out of it.
O’s, Stroh’s, and the Homer Hose! #Birdland pic.twitter.com/HYr1v5R1Gd
— Stefan Frank (@StefanAFrank) April 23, 2023
This presents all kinds of branding opportunities down the road. We'll get to that in a second.
First, I want to discuss this relatively new phenomenon in baseball where teams have very product-heavy dugout celebrations for things like home runs. Previously, the Phillies started using a branded straw hat from the team store to celebrate homers. Players would throw on the hat and sometimes even wear it for interviews. It was easy and fun, and drew new attention to an item that otherwise might've been overlooked in the store.
Come for the home run, stay for the celly. pic.twitter.com/WVtTCQYzRy
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 10, 2023
Fans want to replicate what the players are doing and feel like they're in on the joke and the action. There's a reason we buy the same shirts and hats they wear on the field. Why wouldn't we want to buy the products they wear for fun, too, and feel like we're all still part of the same team.
To that point, as the O's continue to hit home runs, it feels inevitable that the Homer Hose will become more official. Maybe it'll have the O's logo or the bird imprinted on the funnel. Maybe someone will manufacture an official black and orange homer hose, and make it available to the public.
It feels like a no brainer promo.
Just like T-shirt printers take moments from games like quotes, play-by-play soundbites, or other niche references, hard goods can capture the same meme-worthy moments.
It doesn't have to be a beer bong, but if you work with sports teams, take a look at opportunities to capture the vibe of the team with products other than basic logo apparel or other sports-specific gear.
Someone is already trying to capitalize on the hose with apparel. After calling it the "Dong Bong" on Twitter, one O's fan is now trying to make apparel featuring the design and alternate name for it.
It's only a matter of time until people take it a step further and make replicas.
Brendan Menapace is the senior digital editor for Promo Marketing. While writing and editing stories come naturally to him, writing his own bio does not.