Day two of Roar from 34’s “Eutaw Street Week” provides an interview with Greg Bader, director of communications for the Orioles, about the team’s new 2110 Eutaw Street promotion. Bader discusses such topics as Anita Marks’ role in the creation of 2110 Eutaw Street, the process that bring these types of marketing efforts to life, and factors that contribute to a player’s marketability.
As most Bird Watchers know, the promotion, which celebrates young outfielders Nick Markakis (21) and Adam Jones (10), debuts on July 12 when the O’s take on the Blue Jays. For $21, fans get a Eutaw Street bleacher seat and a limited edition “I Live at 2110 Eutaw Street” t-shirt as well as the opportunity to catch baseballs tossed into the stands throughout the game by Markakis and Jones. Should either player homer during the game one fan in the 2110 section receives an autographed bat.
Here’s what Bader had to say:
RF34: How did the idea for the 2110 Eutaw Street promotion come about?
Anita Marks actually approached me after attending a game in the bleachers earlier this year. She felt that while the section was pretty full, the overall feel of the area could be kicked up a notch. After spending nearly four hours on the Scott & Anita show taking phone calls about possible names for that area, we sat down to discuss a new program that would create fan excitement, highlight two franchise players in Nick and Adam, and provide a great value and experience for Nick and Adam’s biggest fans. After a few weeks of finalizing details, we announced 2110 Eutaw Street as the new program.
RF34: What has the response been like for the promotion? Has there been a measurable increase in ticket sales beyond what you would normally project for a Sunday game in the summer?
Response has been overwhelmingly positive. People have been excited that the club is embracing two of its young stars and put together a program designed to link the players and the fans in a direct manner. July 12 is the first game (and only announced date) and we had earmarked 500 tickets for the event. At this time, we are over 2/3 full and expect to sell out the area soon. [Editor’s note: response provided on June 24.]
RF34: How do you evaluate the success of a given promotion?
Success will of course be based on ticket sales, but also whether the overall atmosphere of the Eutaw Street Bleachers area picks up for this game. Our fans are so critical to our success, and to provide our players with an opportunity to directly connect to the fans–especially in-game–is an exciting proposition. If that connection is made, we will have succeeded.
RF34: How many additional 2110 games might we see this season? Could this promotion live on beyond the 2009 season?
We are expecting an additional 3 or 4 games this season featuring the 2110 promotion– all most likely on weekends, when it is often most convenient for fans to attend games. If successful, this promotion may continue into next season and beyond.
RF34: How do the Orioles’ marketing efforts in the past two or three years differ from what’s been done in previous years at Camden Yards?
The club has always looked to keep ticket and concessions prices as low as possible, providing the most affordable opportunities possible for all fans. Student Night, Bargain Night, Bleachers and Boog’s, and the Dugout Club have all been around for several years. We added promotions this year including Kids Nights (children 10 and under free on Thursdays) and the Birthday Offer (free tickets in each fan’s birthday month) as part of the Birdland Stimulus Package. But overall, the concept in how we market our product has not changed… Camden Yards is the premier ballpark in baseball and we always try to highlight the ballpark experience and overall value whenever possible.
RF34: Who is responsible for the team’s marketing decisions? What’s the process for making something like 2110 Eutaw Street happen, from idea to implementation?
The club has several dedicated employees across various departments that are ultimately responsible for executing the team’s marketing initiatives. The management team in place provides the overall objectives and goals, and the club’s staff works to execute such objectives. With a promotion such as 2110, members of the Communications, Programs/Promotions, Sales/Fan Services, and Ballpark Operations all work together to make sure that the program is properly implemented.
RF34: What factors determine a player’s marketability?
Orioles fans have traditionally not only supported the superstar player but also the 25th man on the roster, and in turn, we try to spread our focus across a variety of players. Obviously guys like Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts and Adam Jones seem to get the most attention because of their on-field exploits and their off-the-field community efforts; however, guys like Wieters, Reimold, Huff, Mora, Uehara and others have been highlighted in promotions this year as well. On-field success, relationship with fan base and personality all play an important role.
RF34: Are there any contractual restrictions on how a player is used as part of marketing promotions?
Players on the roster do not need to provide their approval for promotions such as bobbleheads, t-shirts and other promotional materials or ticket programs. However, we usually try to get the player to buy in before we announce anything to ensure that everyone is on the same page with the program or promotions overall goal. In the case of 2110, Nick and Adam jumped at the opportunity to get closer to the fans, and that is why I think the program will be a success.