SBJ/20091019/SBJ In-Depth

How goes the gate? Giveaways and other promotions and their effect on attendance

The following two charts show giveaways and other promotions offered this season by teams in Major League Baseball. The charts reflect the percentage change in average attendance compared with the average attendance for all dates that did not include that specific promotion. They do not include makeup dates for rainouts with giveaways or promotions.

SportsBusiness Journal defined a giveaway as an item given to a significant number of fans to keep. A promotion was categorized as an event that did not include a tangible item that fans could keep. Information was collected using the promotional schedules posted on team Web sites for the 2009 MLB season. The Boston Red Sox were the only team that did not provide a promotions list.

Giveaways
Category (dates) Attendance Average % Change
Webkinz toy (17) 677,562 39,857 31.60%
Blanket (11) 404,166 36,742 21.20%
Banner/pennant (10) 350,536 35,054 15.60%
Magnetic schedule (41) 1,411,969 34,438 13.70%
Bobblehead (75) 2,555,561 34,074 12.70%
Figurine (29) 957,161 33,006 8.90%
Cap (85) 2,752,213 32,379 7.00%
Backpack/bag (48) 1,522,580 31,720 4.60%
Jersey (34) 1,070,513 31,486 3.80%
Lunch box/school supplies (25) 743,502 29,740 -2.00%
Calendar (23) 680,350 29,580 -2.60%
Poster (33) 929,173 28,157 -7.30%
Helmet/gloves (14) 389,031 27,788 -8.50%
Shirt (67) 1,803,625 26,920 -11.60%
Baseball cards (11) 221,924 20,175 -33.50%
Promotions
Category (dates) Attendance Average % Change
Team history tribute (19) 655,280 34,488 13.80%
Autographs (48) 1,598,118 33,294 9.90%
Fan appreciation day (29) 960,266 33,113 9.20%
Concert (36) 1,188,728 33,020 8.90%
Fireworks (195) 6,384,812 32,743 8.60%
Run the bases (53) 1,723,097 32,511 7.30%
Cultural celebration (61) 1,940,501 31,811 4.90%
Military day (28) 845,447 30,195 -0.60%
Concessions discount (122) 3,545,640 29,063 -4.50%
Health awareness day (26) 740,762 28,491 -6.20%
Kids day (60) 1,688,884 28,148 -7.40%
Family day (41) 1,100,960 26,853 -11.70%
Pet day (15) 394,303 26,287 -13.50%
Little League day (26) 680,675 26,180 -13.90%
College night (22) 531,875 24,176 -20.50%
Source: Teams, SportsBusiness Journal research

Most frequent giveaways (MLB)
Rank Giveaway (no. of teams) No. of dates
1 Cap (28)
85
Hats given away by the Houston Astros
2 Bobblehead (23)
75
3 Shirt (20)
67
4 Backpack/bag (25)
48
5 Magnetic schedule (29)
41
6 Jersey (19)
34
7 Poster (9)
33
8 Figurine (14)
29
9 Lunch box/school supplies (12)
25
10 Calendar (16)
23
11 Webkinz toy (9)
17
12 Helmet/gloves (11)
14
13t Baseball cards (10)
11
13t Blanket (10)
11
15t Towel (10)
10
15t Banner/pennant (9)
10
Sources: Teams, SportsBusiness Journal research
Most frequent promotions (MLB)
Rank Promotion (no. of teams) No. of dates
1 Fireworks (19) 195
Fireworks at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves
2 Concessions discount (9) 122
3 Cultural celebration (22) 61
4 Kids day (14) 60
5 Run the bases (10) 53
6 Autographs (6) 48
7 Family day (4) 41
8 Concert (10) 36
9 Fan appreciation day (17) 29
10 Military day (10) 28
11t Health awareness day (8) 26
11t Little League day (7) 26
13 College night (6) 22
14 Team history tribute (14) 19
15 Pet day (9) 15
Sources: Teams, SportsBusiness Journal research
Most frequent sponsors (MLB)
Rank Company/brand (no. of teams) Total activation dates
1 Pepsi (8) 56
Fireworks at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves
2 Coca-Cola (6) 37
3t Bank of America (8) 33
3t Anheuser-Busch (5) 33
5 AT&T (8) 31
6 Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream (2) 16
7 Wells Fargo (3) 15
8 Verizon Wireless (4) 14
9 Powerade (2) 13
10t Dairy Queen (3) 9
10t Hess (2) 9
 
Note: Official sponsors of MLB are in bold.
Sources: Teams, SportsBusiness Journal research
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