December 23, 2008
If you're looking for instant capitalizing on a recent news story, then look no further than minor league sports. News could break at 2 a.m. and some team around the country will have a promotional night planned by 8 a.m. You're not selling the players when it comes to minor league sports; you're selling the event.
Case in point: the Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League. When the news broke that Kansas City Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson was retiring, they brainstormed "Blame the GM Night" where anyone with the first name "Carl" or last name "Peterson" received a free ticket to their game on Saturday night against the Rapid City Rush.
If you wore any sort of Kansas City Chiefs gear, then you were eligible to get a free ticket when you bought one. If you happened to be named "Clark Hunt," the son of legendary Chiefs owners Lamar Hunt, then the Thunder would present you with season tickets for the rest of the year.
This is a promotion that would work wonders in Atlanta. People are staying away from Phillips Arena because of the boneheaded decision by Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell, so why not attempt to bring them back by mocking him? You know, the guy who will more than likely trade Ilya Kovalchuk in the next year for a bag of stick tape, a water bottle and a new skate sharpener (savvy)?
If the Thrashers really want to be creative, fans with the most inventive trade proposals for Kovalchuk should get season tickets.
Football may not be your forte, but maybe bribery and eBay is? The Thunder's "Rod Blagojevich Bribe Night" is probably more up your alley. The disgraced Illinois governor accused of selling President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat was a no show when the Thunder attempted to persuade fans to come to games by giving them discounted ticket offers. That led general manager Joel T. Lomuro throw this deal out publicly to the fans:
"In fact if the Thunder don't score at least six goals this weekend and pick up a couple wins, tickets to Wichita's home game on Tuesday, January 6th versus Arizona will also be buy one get one free, while additional tickets for season ticket holders will be no charge whatsoever (limit four)."
The Thunder managed only three goals and split their two-game home stand this past weekend, so get your tickets while they're still readily available.
Piling on to the Blagojevich scandal, the Las Vegas Wranglers of the East Coast Hockey League (insert geography joke here) will be sporting "vintage" prison uniforms with each uniform number beginning with "ILLGOV" and ending with the player's regular number during their "Gov. Rod Blagojevich Prison Uniform Night" on Jan. 30. Whatever they end up looking like, the jerseys will probably still look better than the Thrashers and Lightning (sorry, Bolts) monstrosities.
There was talk that uniforms similar to what the Wranglers will wear next month would find their way to the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League.
The Wranglers will also hold an auction where they will sell off two seats between the benches. Illinois politicians are encouraged to get involved.
If the Wranglers wanted another cool promotion, they should consider making special helmets that look like Blagojevich's hair. That's a killer coif; one that could possibly get into a nasty fight with Kerry Fraser's mane.