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Volume 24 No. 132
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     Acknowledging the affect the work stoppage has had on
merchandise sales, MLB Properties is planning several retail
initiatives with the aim of "thanking fans for their loyalty,"
while also "spurring consumer interest."
     Among those is a promotion dubbed "Fan Appreciation Weeks,"
in which fans will be given the chance to receive a free gift
with a minimum purchase of MLB licensed merchandise, including
Minor League and Negro League merchandise.  The minimum dollar
amount will be determined by each club, but Melinda Klaber,
Retail Merchandising Manager for MLB Properties, estimates it
will probably be around $25.  The "gift-with-purchase" will be a
significant number Limited Edition "Fotoballs" featuring the
125th Anniversary logo, with some signed by Brooks Robinson.
     Klaber says the gift-purchase promotion is still in its
preliminary stages, with certain aspects, including advertising
messages, to be developed.  But the kick-off is set for Friday,
November 25, and will last two weeks.  That Friday -- the day
after Thanksgiving -- is traditionally the highest grossing
retail sales day of the year.
     Klaber expects all 28 teams to take part.  At an estimated
potential gross of $50,000 per club, "Fan Appreciation Weeks"
could bring in $1.4 million.
     The ad campaign to be launched in conjunction with the
promotion -- presently projected to be print ads in each club's
local newspaper paid for by MLB Properties -- will likely focus
more on the "fan appreciation" idea than any direct reference to
the strike.  But MLB Public Relations Manager Jim Small sums up
the motivation:  "Baseball is still alive and kicking.  The game
will go on."
     MLB Properties is also suggesting the clubs embark on other
retail initiatives, such as ticket give-aways, and sweepstakes
with prizes such as throw-out-the-first pitch, or be a
batboy/batgirl-for-a-day (THE DAILY).