Last season 160 affiliated Minor League Baseball teams sponsored more than 6,787 events, promotions, giveaways, and appearances to attract more than 39 million fans.
In what proves to be one of the greatest pieces of data I receive every year, the folks at Plan B Branding, a company that helps teams put more fans in their seats, has compiled its top promotional items, or acts, of the year.
Last year, we marveled how the Famous Chicken, after all these years, did the best job at increasing attendance over an average game during his appearances. This year, it appears like mascot-type performances still sell the most amount of tickets.
"BirdZerk!" -- described as an entertainment whirlybird with more tricks up his feathers than Houdini -- took the top spot this year by increasing attendance by 1,806 fans.
"Reggie" came in second with an increase of 1,510 fans. "Zooperstars!" -- which has characters including Centipete Rose, Derek Cheetah, Cow Ripken Jr. and Clammy Sosa -- followed closely behind, bolstering crowds by 1,492 fans per game.
The top five were rounded out by the old reliables. Fireworks increased attendance by more than 1,400 fans, with Ted Giannoulas, the Famous Chicken, still proving he's the man by bringing in 1,259 more fans into the stands.
I think there's one major surprise just by looking at the top five. The list suggests to me that fans want a memory (performances) more than they want a mini bat to take home.
Out of Plan B's Top 20 list, I'd say the popularity of Blood Drive Day kind of shocks me. Plan B says blood drives were the 12th most popular promotion this past season, increasing attendance by 777 fans. That's almost as many fans that came to the park as a result of a used car giveaway (808).
In order to be included on Plan B's rankings, promotions had to appear more than 10 times, but Plan B also ranked promotions that didn't qualify, but have potential, on a separate list.
Among the tops in that category were cooler bag giveaways (+1,379 fans) and bucket boys appearances (+1,065 fans).
Plan B's big idea for next year is a kid's pillowcase giveaway. The idea is a good one considering that a kid will see a team's name every day for the entire year.
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