SBJ/Jan. 20-26, 2014/FranchisesPrint All
Lots of pro sports teams have mascots. But the Chicago Cubs hadn’t had one for 98 years.
With the addition of Clark, the Chicago Cubs become the 27th of 30 Major League Baseball teams to get a team mascot. Only the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels have no mascot among MLB teams.
Clark is joining the Cubs at this moment in its history because team management has
Clark makes the Cubs the 27th of 30 MLB teams with a mascot.
Photo by:STEVE GREEN / CHICAGO CUBS
Alison Miller, Cubs senior director of marketing, noted: “Clark is a young, friendly Cub who can’t wait to interact with our other young Cubs fans. He’ll be a welcoming presence for families at Wrigley Field and an excellent ambassador for the team in the community.”
According to the Cubs’ marketing department, the team was getting consistent feedback through surveys and fan interviews about the need for more family-friendly entertainment related to the Cubs experience. One suspects too much effort may have been focused in recent years on improving the ballpark experience for the beer-gulping young adult crowds that populate Wrigley Field on most game days.
Before and during games at Wrigley, Clark will greet fans as they enter the ballpark and help kids run the bases following the game. Aside from his game-day tasks, Clark will work with Cubs Charities to help the team target improvements in health and wellness, fitness and education for children and families at risk.
Cubs management has developed a so-called “backstory” for Clark. His great-grandbear Joa was the team’s original bear mascot in 1916, but only for one year. The team had been mascot-less until Clark’s debut this week. Clark answered the call, so to speak, because he could hear the roar of fans at Wrigley Field from his home in the Lincoln Park Zoo, where Joa retired to after his brief appearance with the team.
A Cubs spokesman said the team soon will put out a job description to find the right person to bring Clark to life full time. That person has not yet been hired because the team wanted to keep Clark’s debut a secret until now.
Lewis Lazare writes for sister publication Chicago Business Journal.
The San Diego Padres are ramping up efforts to understand fan behavior and habits. The team is introducing a radio frequency identification system that will combine ticketing, concessions, its fan loyalty program and in-game entertainment.
Like the Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays, the Padres have aligned with London-based customer management group Fortress GB to tie together all of their fan touch points into one system.
But the Padres are taking a significant step by also folding the program into MLB Advanced Media’s At The Ballpark mobile application. This RFID system will be recognized in the app, and fans will also have a smart card embedded with the RFID chip, like what the Nationals and Rays have done.
The system will be similar to one used by the Nationals.
Photo by:WASHINGTON NATIONALS
The Padres’ system will also manage its fan loyalty program, The Faithful, which rewards fans for virtually any behavior with the team — from buying tickets and merchandise to reading articles online and retweeting team tweets.
The club spent an undisclosed seven-figure sum creating the program. Installation required infrastructure at the ballpark including new turnstiles and a new point-of-sale system. Padres staffers also toured Nationals Park and Tropicana Field to study their RFID efforts with Fortress.
“This has been a major investment on our part, but it’s where our future lies and is the next logical step for us,” said Mike Dee, Padres president and chief executive.
Helping manage the effort for the Padres are Wayne Partello, the club’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, and Ryan Gustafson, manager of business strategy and analytics. After Dee left the Miami Dolphins to take the club’s senior management job last summer, he brought former colleague Partello with him from Miami into a newly created role.
MLBAM this season is substantially reworking At The Ballpark to allow clubs, and in turn their fans, much more flexibility to customize what the product provides. The Padres, as a result, are among the first clubs to deploy MLBAM’s broader vision for the app.
“Like any business, we want to reward our best customers, and the broader platform we’re creating for At The Ballpark will allow teams to take that in whatever direction they choose,” said MLBAM President and CEO Bob Bowman.