SBD/March 11, 2011/Franchises

Living The Sheen Dream: ECHL Team Running Game Promo Around Notorious Actor

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The first 1,000 men receive a
Sheen-on-a-stick mask
The ECHL Bakersfield Condors will attempt a "winning" formula by giving fans a chance to display their Adonis DNA at Saturday's game against the Idaho Steelheads. The team's Charlie Sheen Night includes several promotions centered around the headline-making actor. Fans can receive free admission if they bring a clean drug test, and dressing up as their favorite Sheen character will give them a ticket for $2.50, a play on the actor's former show, "Two and a Half Men." Additionally, the first 1,000 men will receive a Sheen face on a stick. The promo is the latest in a string of celebrity-themed nights for the Condors, who in recent years have held Michael Jackson and Sarah Palin nights. But Charlie Sheen Night is the biggest yet, according to Condors President Matt Riley. "You couldn't be alive and not see him on TV or hear about what was going on," he said. "We always try to be inventive and creative with our promotions. To equate to pop culture and what's hot." Riley noted traffic on the team's website increased seven-fold when the Sheen promo was first announced, and the Condors have subsequently received national media coverage from outlets including ESPN2, CNN, MSNBC and the N.Y. Daily News, among others.

FULL OF TIGER BLOOD: The Condors have not marketed Charlie Sheen Night any more than a normal game, but the response has been exponentially greater. Still, Riley does not expect attendance at Rabobank Arena to go through the roof. "It's not overwhelming," he said. "I think our attendance will be better on Saturday because of this promotion. ... I don't necessarily think we're going to have lines for two blocks, but it's certainly going to have a positive effect on us." Riley said the opportunity to boost the Condors' social media presence was a major impetus behind the Sheen promotion. In the press release announcing Charlie Sheen Night, the Condors said they would allow the actor to rename the team if they could break his record of gaining one million Twitter followers in less than 25 hours and 17 minutes. The team did not come close to setting that mark, but the Condors did double their Twitter followers in the 24 hours following the announcement. "The Twitter and Facebook aspect is one of the reasons we really hooked onto this. Just by those two things alone, it was worth doing it," Riley said. The Condors did invite Sheen, a noted sports fan, to attend the game, but they have yet to receive a reply.

GNARLY GNARLINGTONS: The Condors have received some negative feedback for the connection to such a controversial figure, mostly from local fans. But Riley defended the promo as simply an attempt to have fun. "We don't take ourselves too seriously and hope that other people don't either," he said. "We're a business and we're trying to be one dollar in the black. You've got to do what you've got to do as a business. We think this can help us sell some tickets and get us some publicity." As long as the Condors keep shaking all the trees, it is likely the publicity will continue.
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