Arizona Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall hatched a plan recently that will allow his franchise to accomplish two very important things. The first is giving back to their community in a meaningful way, which obviously trumps everything else. The second is securing their own fanbase for what they hope will be many years to come.
The plan itself is really very simple. In the coming weeks, the Diamondbacks will begin the process of donating over $600,000 worth of their own authentic jerseys and hats — including current, past and alternate uniform designs — to 33 Phoenix-area Little Leagues. That will allow each league to cut back on uniform costs, which for some leagues can be overwhelming without the aid of dedicated sponsors.
That's a very good thing for Little League. It's also a good thing for the D-Backs, as each player will represent them now and hopefully feel more connected to their team and brand.
“Each of the leagues, the kids wanted to be on the Diamondbacks,” team President and CEO Derrick Hall said. “Now they’re thrilled they’re all D-Backs, so it’s great.”
The program has been on Hall’s mind since his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers nearly 10 years ago, but the idea picked up steam in the past year and a half. He owns Rockies and Yankees caps because of his kids’ youth league allegiances, and allowing other teams to infiltrate the Diamondbacks fan base “doesn’t make much sense,” he thinks.
He's right about that. Not that there's anything wrong with idolizing a player like Derek Jeter or even Troy Tulowitzki, of course, but why not make a better effort to promote their own brand and their own stars. Players these kids can watch every day and see in person.
It only makes sense, and it's a great deal for everybody. As is the fact the new found financial flexibility can help each league in several areas, including providing safer equipment and lowering fees for players to join, which they hope will get more kids involved.
Michelle LaSpina, the operator of South Scottsdale Little League, tells the Arizona Republic that her league has been able to increase advertising this season, yet still lowered their cost-per-player by $50. A remarkable number.
“We’re just trying to get new kids in, and by lowering the fee we’re able to get a few more than expected,” LaSpina added.
If each league gains just one player as a result of the donations, the Diamondbacks have made a huge difference.
In turn, if the D-Backs manage to gain one new fan in each league, they will have gone a long way towards securing of their fanbase.
It's a win-win scenario for everybody involved and it's a very wise investment in baseball's future.
BLS H/N: Josh Rawitch on Twitter
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