Baseball is a fun and exciting game for the whole family. It's not just about watching the players on the field, it's about going to games and having a good time. Because of the relaxed pace of a baseball game, with plenty of downtime between innings, during pitcher substitutions, and during the "7th Inning Stretch," some teams like to spice up their games with giveaways, contests, or promotions. Here are five of our favorites that you might consider for your own games:
1. Fan Races
An absolute favorite over the past few years has been fan races, where a fan is selected to race a costumed hometown hero. This event was started by the Atlanta Braves with their so-called "Beat The Freeze" promotion, pitting fans (who were given a head start!) against an Olympic-qualified runner dressed in bright blue spandex. If they could beat him in a 175-yard race, they would win a grand prize.
A few years later, a minor league team, the Gwinnett Stripers, began their "Beat The Fridge" competition. This inverted the challenge, with the Stripers' husky runner receiving a head start, dressed in silver spandex. For the first 50 meters or so, he would please the crowd by running comically slowly, huffing and puffing, and putting his fan challenger at ease. Then, as they reached him, he would reveal that, for his size, his speed is unparalleled! The fridge is yet to lose a race!
If you can find a good runner to represent your stadium, fan races are a crowd favorite -- especially when they add a comical element on top of the traditional racing baseball promotion.
2. Home Run Competition
This baseball fan competition is perfect for getting fans into the stadium early, keeping wait-times down at the gates as game time approaches, while still keeping fans entertained, buying snacks, and having a great time.
During batting practice, fans are selected to get a chance to hit a home run and win a prize. Fans typically get one to three tries each, depending on how many participants there are; pitchers generally go easy on them, offering more of a Little League fastball than a blistering pitch you would see in the Majors.
Also, if the event is a baseball promotion or giveaway, rather than a large-prize event, the fans can compete against each other to see whose hits go the furthest so that there is always at least one winner. For bigger prizes, typically only a home run counts.
3. The Natural Cycle Competition
In a Natural Cycle Baseball Competition, one fan is selected either by raffle or by random seat number. This fan then chooses a star hitter from their team who they think could hit a 'Natural Cycle'—a single, a double, a triple, and a home run -- during the game. If the player manages to hit all four, you'll have one excited fan on your hands!
This game is less exciting for the rest of the crowd who have no stake in the game, but the tension in the air when the player gets close to hitting all four is palpable. When the announcers play it up, this kind of game can really make for a fun time for everyone.
4. Foul Pole Picks
Similar to the Natural Cycle Competition, this one involves a handful of fans selecting either the left or right foul pole and their favorite player. If their player manages a hit that makes contact with their chosen pole, they win a prize!
This one is particularly good for small or medium prizes, so that you can have lots of different fans participate. That really ups the stakes and the general level of investment for the crowd, and makes for a good time.
5. Can You Pitch It?
It is notoriously difficult for untrained fans to throw a good pitch from the mound -- it's farther away than it looks! But this challenge makes it even harder: a wooden cutout is placed over home plate, and one selected fan must throw a pitch through a hole in the cutout. If they succeed at this huge challenge, they win big!
This can be a really fun event to put right after or before the opening pitch, since everyone is already focused on the mound, and it can put everyone in a great mood for the start of the game.
If you are thinking about hosting giveaways or promotions at your next game, contact us. We've been doing this for years and know exactly what you need.