I went to my first Mets game this season, on the night when the suddenly phenomenal R.A. Dickey pitched his second straight one-hitter. I took notice of the pre-game festivities, which was packed with tributes. The Hofstra girls softball team was recognized for its national success, veterans were recognized for their military contributions, a sponsor was recognized for its charitable contributions, a young Broadway starlet sang the National Anthem, and a disabled child threw out the first pitch.
The PR staffs of Major League Baseball teams work tirelessly to boost tickets sales through these pre-game programs and game day promotional events. This month the Mets home games feature t-shirt, mini-bat, bobble head, gift card, and collectible truck giveaways. Promotional tie-ins with corporate sponsors abound: in August, for example, Gulf is handing fans license plate frames, Toyota’s got tote bags and Gatorade has its name on a Mike Piazza bobble head. Demographic appeals feature special nights for various ethic groups sprinkled throughout the season.
It’s all about putting tushes in the seats. Ticket sales have been down at Citi Field (and Yankee Stadium as well) this season. But as the All-Star break approaches, the Mets find home game ticket sales on an upswing, and all this promotion–while helpful–is not the reason.
It’s the Amazins’ unexpected performance on the field that’s elevating interest and attendance. Back in April, every pundit was sure the Mets would be a loser in 2012. They were wrong. Today, July 1st, the Mets have the best starting pitching staff in baseball. The formerly mediocre veteran R.A Dickey leads the majors with a 12-1 record. Johan Santana pitched a no-hitter a couple of weeks ago and a gem last night. The Mets are in second place this morning, just 2 1/2 games back. With such low expectations, this team’s roster had nothing to lose at the start of the season, and everything to prove. And now ticket sales are climbing.
This again shows us that solid performance stimulates success. Promotions help, but the product must be good or none of the hype around it matters. So, let’s go Mets! Your thoughts?