SBD/November 13, 2013/Franchises

MLB Teams Use Bobblehead Dolls As Promo Giveaway Far More Often Than Other Items

A total of 2.59 million bobbleheads were given away by MLB teams during '13
For the second straight year, MLB teams in '13 were more likely to use a bobblehead to lure fans to the ballpark than any other promotional giveaway, according to SportsBusiness Journal's eighth annual review of team promotional calendars. Twenty-nine clubs distributed a total of 2.59 million bobbleheads across 108 general-admission giveaway dates in '13. That is the most such dates since at least '05 and a 46% increase compared with the number of bobbles distributed in '09. The Red Sox were the only club without at least one bobblehead giveaway for the year. The Dodgers led the bobblehead surge, giving away approximately 560,000 bobbles over 11 dates this year. Both marks were tops league-wide for the second year in a row. Nine of those giveaways occurred on a weeknight. Attendance for the club's three Tuesday night bobblehead giveaway games specifically (one each featuring SS Hanley Ramirez, CF Matt Kemp and former player Rick Monday) averaged 50,552 fans, an 18% lift over the team's 10 Tuesday night games that did not include a bobble. The Dodgers are one of several clubs over the past few seasons that has diverted many of its premium giveaways from Friday nights to different nights of the week, focusing instead on the social potential of Fridays. "Fridays, especially in the summer months, are traditionally very popular for ticket sales, so teams are relying less on promotions to get fans to the ballpark," said Bensussen Deutsch & Associates CEO Jay Deutsch, whose company is MLB's preferred premium merchandise provider. "This particular day of the week has become a more viable non-item, event-only day, which encourages fans to come earlier and stay later at the ballpark, with the weekend the next day."

HELPING TICKET SALES: Giants Dir of Special Events Valerie McGuire said the team tends to put bobbleheads and giveaways "on weekends for a number of reasons: ticket demand is higher on weekends, more kids attend on weekends and many times the sponsor preference is an item on the weekends." McGuire: "We do over 32 'special ticket' games, which often times includes a promotional item in addition to the gate discount. Those are mainly during the week which helps drive tickets sales anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 tickets and also helps keep our sellout streak alive."

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