O’s marketing in FULL swing?

November 28, 2007 | Drew Forrester

In case you haven’t seen or heard their advertising in recent days, the Orioles are selling a "Holiday Pack" that includes a ticket to Opening Day ’08 and tickets to three other games in April and May. 

As the O’s continue to enforce their unprofessional, in-house edict of not dealing with WNST, you won’t see or hear any of their advertising on the air or via this web-site.

But they can’t stop ME from promoting THEM for a few seconds. 

Here’s their web-site — www.orioles.com — click on that link and you’ll see information about the "Holiday Pack" and the offer for discounted tickets.  If you feel inspired to buy, go right ahead.  It might actually make a cool holiday gift for the baseball fan in your family or office. 

And, have no fear…the Orioles WILL thank you.  But it won’t happen until March 29th.

Yep, for the second straight year, the O’s will not have a winter-time event to promote their 2008 season.  The club has announced that FanFest will take place on March 29th, just two days before the season opener against Tampa Bay.

Laughable.

Here’s an organization that has lost for 10 straight seasons and had at least a dozen crowds (and I’m talking actual people in the seats) of 7,500 or so last season and they’re not going to do ANYTHING between October 4 and March 28 in the form of grass roots marketing in Baltimore?

Wow.

Do you mean to tell me that out of a roster of 25 players who really matter, they can’t bring two of those guys once a week throughout December, January and early February to spend two or three days in Baltimore marketing to the masses?  In an hour, I could come up with a list of 40 things the team could do to reach out to the people in this community and motivate them for 2008. 

The way they’ve decided to "REACH OUT" to you is by offering you the opportunity to buy their tickets at a discount.

Like I wrote above…and here it is AGAIN in case you didn’t link it yet…if you want those tickets, go to their web-site right now — www.orioles.com — and buy to your heart’s content.  I mean that.  After all, over the last two years, we at WNST have personally brought about 3,000 fans (PAYING customers) to three different games.  We – the station and its listeners – are ticket buyers too.

But it seems awfully odd and even moreso nervy of them to ask you to buy tickets for ’08 when they won’t have a player lift a finger for them in the off-season.  How is it possible that, for instance, Erik Bedard and Kevin Millar can’t be in Baltimore today, tomorrow and Friday signing autographs at a couple of malls in the area and visiting Kennedy Krieger?  And wouldn’t it seem logical that NEXT week, Nick Markakis and Jamie Walker could zip into town for a day or three and "make the rounds", led by a member of the team’s PR department who drives them around town to meet the fans?  Aubrey Huff could even come to town and, uh, "lend a hand".

Speaking of Huff…boy did he get the kid gloves treatment from just about everyone in town after that little "skit" he was involved in a few weeks back.

If Ray Lewis would have pulled that stunt in August with a hip hop morning show out of Miami…OH MY GOD…we’d STILL be fielding phone calls about it.  That’s probably another subject we don’t need to address right now, though.

I always say nothing the Orioles do surprises me.  So, while I’m not shocked that they haven’t been out in the community since their season ended two months ago, I sort of thought the MacPhail-led O’s might be different.  Or, is he too busy worrying about signing players to concern himself with the fan base that has suffered for the last 10 years during this "decade of despair"?

Frankly, MacPhail probably ISN’T a marketing guy, so he can’t be blamed (much) for this faux pas.  But, as the team’s General Manager (title notwitsthanding, that’s what he IS), is he not in control of the players?  Or do the players just sort of do whatever they want in the off-season and is the Collective Bargaining Agreement that ironclad that the employees don’t actually have to WORK for the company in Oct., Nov., Dec. and Jan.?

Who is making MARKETING decisions for the Orioles?  Do they not think it would be a wise idea to get the players out into the community at some point during the off-season?  They used to stage a 2-day FanFest in January and they’d bring a few players in for the weekend – and even though one of the big names would inevitably "have a family issue" or be "under the weather" and cancel at the last moment, the thought was still there.

And that thought was, I assume, "we need to do SOMETHING for the fans in the off-season so they know we’re still thinking about them."

Not this year.

Here’s the REALLY funny part of it all.  With the Ravens doing their best Orioles impersonation and losing on a regular basis over the last month, this would have been a perfect time for the O’s to canvass the city and do some legitimate, productive marketing and community work. 

January looms and there’s another full month of idle time just waiting to be filled.  Will players be in town to talk baseball and help sell tickets for 2008?

Probably not.

In the meantime, you can still get those tickets by going to www.orioles.com — just tell ‘em WNST sent you, OK?

And, finally, how quickly will someone write something that includes THIS line…"the fans will come back as soon as the team starts winning again."

1st response?  2nd response? 

Well, I’m of the belief it actually goes like this:  "the team WON’T win until the fans start coming back again."

They better figure out a way to get people back in that ballpark again.  They won’t win until they do.  It’s NOT the other way around.

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