I was traveling in western PA last week, and the Pittsburgh sports radio station was heavily promoting the TWO-DAY Pirates Fan Fest coming up next month. From the Pirates site:
"PirateFest Highlights Include:
* Free autograph sessions with current and former Pirates players and coaches.
* Opportunity to purchase 2012 individual game tickets for the first time beginning Saturday, December 17 at 10 a.m.
* All attendees get a 2012 Pirates wall calendar, 2012 pocket schedule and PirateFest program.
* Q&A sessions with the players as well as "Ask Pirates Management" with Pirates President Frank Coonelly, Executive Vice President and General Manager Neal Huntington and Manager Clint Hurdle.
* The chance to join your favorite players in versions of Pirates "Minute to Win It" or "We Are Fam-A-Lee Feud", take on Pirates players in "Guitar Hero", play "Deal Or No Deal" and take part in Pierogie Eating Contests.
* Youth baseball clinics, Kids Fun Zone, inflatable rides, batting cages, carnival games and more!"
If a team like the Pirates can pull something like that off, there's no reason the Nats can't do the same...
I'm trying to make it up to Pittsburgh to see the Nats at some point when it matches up with our school schedule, from a fan experience standpoint they do everything right. Take a look at the link below, they have already announced their 2012 promotional schedule, with the Nats we're always hoping that they announce the schedule before the end of February when we hold our ticket draft. Look at how many giveaways the Pirates have, literally dozens, almost triple the number the Nats have (and with no cap at 10,000 items available). When the Nats release their promotions schedule it is always bloated with more than half of the dates not being actual giveaways.
As far as the Pirates FanFest goes, there is proof that it can be done off-season. The Nats always do a great job with their FanFest and STH events, it is just that the schedule change was a terrible idea, but because the decision was made at the upper management levels, no one wants to step up and tell Fluffer and/or Mark Lerner that their idea was a dud.http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/schedule/promotions.jsp?c_id=pit