A classic baseball cap will never go out of style.

QR Codes Coming to a Cemetary Near You

Graveyard strolls just became a whole lot more interesting.  In what has to be one of the more creative uses for QR (quick response) codes, a Seattle company is offering them on, you guessed it, tombstones!  Those who have conjured up images and contructed life stories from inscribed names and dates can now compare them to the real John or Jane Dough with merely a smartphone click.  I guess it’s true that technology’s reach has no bounds.

Whether or not you want a QR code on your headstone, it’s worth considering for sports premium items particularly collectibles like bobbleheads where a click on a QR code can provide access to player details including statistics, images, video and other detailed biographical information that can bring a figurine to life.

QR Code


Happy Meals and Ticket Sales

 This week the Sports Business Journal reported that Major League Baseball teams dramatically increased their use of in stadium giveaways in the 2010 season in the face of drastically reduced consumer spending and the worst economic conditions since the great depression.  According to SBJ,  Major League Baseball clubs combined for 719 giveaway dates this season, a 16 percent increase over 2009 and a 25 percent jump compared with 2008.   Meanwhile the City of San Francisco, whose World Champion Giants were the very first baseball team to offer a bobblehead giveaway, became the first city to ban free toy giveaways in “unhealthy” kids meals.  What can we learn from all this you ask?  Premium “giveaways” work! 

While consumers and lawmakers will now debate the merits of government intervention and regulation of fast food kids’ meals, few can argue against the effectiveness of premium items  – whether to sell a “Happy Meal”  or a ticket to a sporting event.

What’s a premium?

Premiums are items that are given away for free in exchange for a consumer action (buying a kids’ meal or a ticket to a sporting event) .  McDonalds introduced the Happy Meal in 1979 and currently sells 2.5 million per year.  In addition to boosting fast food sales, Happy meal toys are sought after by kids and collectors alike and include games, watches and figurines with tie-ins to popular brands like Star Wars, Hot Wheels, Barbie, Batman, Avatar,  Spiderman and others.  Other major fast food chains and smaller independent chains and restaurants alike use toy premiums to promote children’s meals.

Sports marketers have traditionally used premiums to increase sales for lower-demand games such as weekday games and games against lower drawing teams.  Years ago popular sports premium items were low cost items like pens, pencils calendars and notepads.  Today sports premiums are an integral marketing component in all professional sports but with 81 home games and large capacity stadiums, Major League Baseball is truly “The Bigs” when it comes to sports premiums. 

Sports Premiums Today

Today professional sports teams utilize higher perceived value premium giveaways including bobble heads, t-shirts, caps, blankets, towels. lunch tins, backpacks, and bags to sell excess ticket inventory.  The incremental ticket sales revenue generated goes directly to the bottom line along with additional parking and concession revenue resulting from higher attendance.   Teams have developed fairly sophisticated models to accurately measure the incremental revenue generated by a specific premium item giveaway while accounting for other variables such as strength of opponent, weather and game date; they know what works.  The Sports Business Journal reports that professional teams are now including giveaways for weekend and higher demand games even where there are much smaller potential revenue gains from tickets sales.  The reason is that aside from the aforementioned revenue increases, premium items also create stadium atmosphere and provide an effective source of advertising at a relatively low cost per impression.  Sports marketers are beginning to view premium items not only as a means to move the ticket sales needle, but also as an integral part of experiential marketing - creating a memorable event that builds brand awareness and loyalty.   Often times, the cost of the premium item is shared or paid for by a corporate sponsor such as a consumer products company, insurance provider, health care company or a bank looking to reach a large targeted audience, increase its brand recognition and co-brand with professional team.   In stadium sports sponsorship allows sponsoring companies market directly to fans in attendance while simultaneously reaching a much larger television audience.   Savvy marketers often choose higher visibility items such as T shirts, banner signs and caps to capitalize on televised games.

Sports teams are unique in that they have a combination of very high fixed operating costs and finite, expiring revenue potential.  Each game is a scheduled event that is going to take place whether the seats are empty or filled and facility overhead, player salaries and other expenses are largely fixed expenses regardless of gate attendance.    If 10,000  $30 seats aren’t sold for a game, that’s $300,000 in ticket sales revenue plus considerable additional concession revenue that is lost forever.  As a result, teams are highly motivated to sell excess inventory and rather than devalue ticket prices by discounting, they use premium giveaways to add value, boost sales and simultaneously promote their brand and improve the fan experience.  In an era with ever-more competition for sports consumers including home theater and 3D television sports premiums aren’t going away and guess what… neither is the Happy Meal.


John Tulchin

Partner, In Stadium Promotions

Let him eat!

As he was being freed from a night in a NY jail, eating champ Takeru Kobayashi, stated that he was “tired and hungry.”  Well, not to worry Kobi! They are letting him eat!  After storming the Coney Island stage following Joey Chestnut’s Victory on the 4th of July, the Major League Eating commissioner stated that Kobayashi has not been banned from participation in future MLE competitions.  I wonder what “The Tsunami” will devour for his next title?

Didn’t know eating was considered an athletic event?  Take a look at some of these records… if putting away this much food isn’t considered superior athleticism, I don’t know what is!

Baked Beans- 8.4 lbs in 2 min 47 sec (Sonya Thomas)

Giant Cabbage- 6 lbs, 9 oz in 9 min (Charles Hardy)

Cow Brains- 57 (17.7 lbs) in 15 min (Takeru Kobayashi)

Salted Butter- 7 Quarter Pound Sticks- yes, that’s 1.75 lbs- in 5 min (Don Lerman)

Are You Kidding Me?

Sepp Blatter’s contention that technology cannot be used in soccer because it cannot be applied at all levels of play is ludicrous.  It’s difficult to imagine that in the face of the multiple game-changing, blatantly incorrect calls in this year’s World Cup that FIFA won’t have replay in effect for 2014 qualifying… but FIFA is FIFA and Mr Blatter and company seem to prefer controversy on the subject to insuring justice on the field of play.

Technology has been successfully employed in virtually every other sport and is working effectively to right the wrongs of human error with little or no discernible negative impact on play.  Anyone who has watched Wimbledon this week, for example, has seen that today’s technology can instantly confirm whether a tennis ball lands in or out within a fraction of a millimeter.  There is no justifiable excuse for not implementing instant replay or goal line technology in soccer just as it has been implemented in hockey, football, basketball, tennis and baseball.

The fans want it, the players and teams want it, and I am sure that the referees want it.  No referee wants to be responsible for dashing the hopes of a nation or ruining a kids’ perfect game.  FIFA’s stated position that the game needs to be played the same at all levels is complete hogwash.  I don’t see a whole lot of similarities between World Cup matches and my Sunday league game or my kids’ AYSO and club games to begin with so, I for one, can certainly accept it if goal line technology is added to the list.  What should apply at all levels of play is that games should be won and lost by the players on the field of play and FIFA is standing in the way of that.  If a ball crosses over the goal line and bounces 2 feet behind the line for all the world (except a referee, referee’s assistant and fourth official) to see, a referee should be given the opportunity to get it right.

FIFA’s Statement

Golden State Marketing

The Golden State Warriors of Oakland have re-vamped their logo. The new logo has an “old school” “retro” feel (see 1966-1975 jersey below). Although no logo has ever been proven to improve a losing record (26-56 this past season), perhaps this logo can provide a much needed facelift to the hopeful squad. Here’s Warrior’s GM, Larry Riley talking about their offseason activity leading up to the upcoming NBA draft.

Bon Voyage

France has always been known as a powerhouse in the world of soccer, nearly winning the 2006 Fifa World Cup with a stunning performance throughout the tournament by one of the greatest players of all time, Zinedine Zidane (yes that Zidane). But, in this 2010 World Cup we’ve seen a French side that is, well, terrible. At time, they have been painful to watch. It goes to show you that a team is far more than the sum of its parts and wihtout passion, desire, teamwork and leadership a roster of some of the world’s best is merely that. To add to their problems, their starting striker who plays for Chelsea in the English Premier League was sent home packing following a a halftime dispute with his coach. Anelka was reportedly making “obscene comments”, and was told to apologize by the President of the French Football Federation, and he refused to do so . This is a huge blow to France and significant changes are needed to get them back to being a world-class team. Hope’s for advancing further in this tournament have faded. Will the sun rise tomorrow in France?


ISP parent company, The Promotions Dept., Receives 2009 Best of Business Award

Small Business Commerce Association’s Award Honors the Achievement

SAN FRANCISCO, November 7, 2009, The Promotions Dept. has been selected for the 2009 Best of Business Award in the Gifts and novelties category by the Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA)

The Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA) is pleased to announce that The Promotions Dept. has been selected for the 2009 Best of Business Award in the Gifts and novelties category.

The SBCA 2009 Award Program recognizes the top 5% of small businesses throughout the country. Using statistical research and consumer feedback, the SBCA identifies companies that we believe have demonstrated what makes small businesses a vital part of the American economy. The selection committee chooses the award winners from nominees based off statistical research and also information taken from monthly surveys administered by the SBCA, a review of consumer rankings, and other consumer reports. Award winners are a valuable asset to their community and exemplify what makes small businesses great.

About Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA)

Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA) is a San Francisco based organization. The SBCA is a private sector entity that aims to provide tactical guidance with many day to day issues that small business owners face. In addition to our main goal of providing a central repository of small business operational advice; we use consumer feedback to identify companies that exemplify what makes small business a vital part of the American economy.

SOURCE: Small Business Commerce Association

The Promotions Dept.

Email: info@thepromotionsdept.com

URL: http://www.thepromotionsdept.com

The Pepsi Refresh Project

Notice something missing last Sunday? Pepsi opted out of their coveted Super Bowl commercial spot for the first time in 23 years. With the average 30 second slot costing 3.1 million this year, Pepsi elected to put their advertising budget to good use by pursuing a new advertising technique. The $20 million social media
campaign called the Pepsi Refresh Project was launched on January 13th. The Pepsi Refresh Project allows users to submit and vote for causes that will refresh communities and make the world a better place. Pepsi hopes to build brand awareness, while helping communities around the world.

I don’t know about you, but I am pleased with this new path we’re taking. Advertisement or not, Pepsi is spending $20 million on philanthropic causes that mean something to us- the community! Want to get involved? Click here to submit or vote for a cause that you care about.

And for fun… a few of my favorite Pepsi Super Bowl Ads from years past.


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