SBD/April 26, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Free Pizza Promo Paying Dividends For Reds Fans As Pitchers Go On Strikeout Binge

Cincinnati-based restaurant LaRosa's Pizzeria has "handed out more than $100K in free pizza this month as a result" of the company's promotion with the Reds that gives fans a "free small pizza in exchange for their ticket stub when the Reds strike out 11 batters at a home game," according to Sam Gardner of FOXSPORTS.com. The team through 15 games at Great American Ball Park this year has "struck out 11 or more batters on seven occasions" after accomplishing the feat just 14 times during the entire '12 season. Food giveaways "aren’t exactly new to the world of professional sports, but few have gotten the kind of attention that LaRosa’s pizza handouts have generated." LaRosa's is "seeing a 15-to-20 percent redemption rate on the special," as fans "have seven days to exchange their tickets, but can’t do so on the day of the game" (FOXSPORTS.com, 4/24). YAHOO SPORTS' Mike Oz reported LaRosa's, which has 65 stores, "isn't upset at the Reds strikeout prowess." Company Exec VP/Marketing Pete Buscani said, "This is the best promotion we've done in a long time" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/24). NBC Sports Network’s Dave Briggs noted, “It seemed like a pretty modest investment, but if it continues at this pace, it’s looking like over half a million dollars in free pizza.” NBCSN's Michelle Beadle said, “I don’t know how big this business is -- and I’m assuming it’s not Papa John’s level -- but it’s a lot of money” (“The Crossover,” NBCSN, 4/24). CBS Sports Network’s Allie LaForce said, "They're not going to be so far in debt with $100,000 that they can’t survive." The net’s Doug Gottlieb added, “This is good publicity. We’re talking about it, we talked about it on my radio show, and it’s talked about nationally” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 4/24).

REDS PITCHERS RED HOT ABOUT THE DEAL
: In Dayton, David Jablonski noted fans "start chanting, 'Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!' when the Reds get the 10th strikeout." Reds P Sam LeCure said, "I don’t care about the pizza deal. The pizza deal (ticks) me off. I hear the fans. Logan (Ondrusek’s) goes 3-2 on a guy, and he walks him, and they’re booing him because they’re hollering for pizza. That bothers me" (DAYTON DAILY NEWS, 4/25).
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