SBD/April 26, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Super Hero: Can Rays' Sam Fuld Turn Sudden On-Field Success Into Marketing Gold?

Rays issuing "Super Sam" capes in place of Manny Ramirez bobbleheads
Rays LF Sam Fuld in fewer than 25 games with the franchise "has already become a crowd favorite and trending Twitter topic," though it remains to be seen whether Fuld can "transform that into sports marketing gold," according to Jeff Harrington of the the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES. The Rays are "issuing Super Sam capes" at their May 29 game against the Indians, a "quickie replacement for the previously planned Manny Ramirez bobbleheads." But Fuld will "need to show some staying power to cash in on his instant fame." Sun Life Financial VP/Brand Management Bill Webster said that the Tampa market is "too small and Fuld is too early into a breakout season to be viewed as anything more than a regional opportunity." Harrington noted Fuld had played fewer than 100 MLB games before joining the Rays this season, so he "has the fresh appeal of a rookie," but the 29-year-old "handles interviews like a veteran." Univ. of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Managing Dir Paul Swangard said Fuld's age and maturity "may be a secret ingredient" to marketing success. Harrington noted Fuld currently is "satisfied setting his marketing sights low," and would "just like to get a second car for his wife and himself to use in Tampa Bay in exchange for tickets to games or an appearance or two" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/24).
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