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Further to Kent's observation (#40 below) about the full-page newspaper ad congratulating Hinske on his award while also promoting Opening Day 2003, here's an interesting related piece from today's Globe & Mail. It talks about some unorthodox and innovative sales efforts by the team's (new?) VP sales and marketing, Paul Allamby.

Two of the campaigns mentioned are a free flight to Dunedin and BBQ with Ricciardi and the players if you buy a season's ticket before Dec. 2, and a June Skydome sleepover for dads and their kids during the Cubs (Sosa) series. I like them both, because they're aggressive and fun, thinking differently about incentives to bring people to the park. The former is a whole lot better than a wine-and-cheese with Paul Godfrey in an dark empty Skydome, which would have been the kind of thing I'd normally expect, and the latter is a little wacky and very family-oriented. Best of all, there'll be no more of those awful 2-for-1 ticket giveaways that undermined the fundamental value of the product.

I like the freshness that this approach brings with it. It's designed to send the message, "You really are important to us. You're the reason we're in business, and we want to give something back that makes you feel special." I think that will tap into a nerve, especially in the Toronto sports market, where often fans are at best taken for granted and at worst taken for idiots. Just wanted to point to this as another, significant way in which the organization is finally starting to get things right.
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Coach - Thursday, November 07 2002 @ 01:34 PM EST (#102403) #
The other day, Damien Cox tore a strip off the arrogant, short-sighted Leafs/Raptors/ACC management in his Star column, and the Argos are in their death throes. It's an ideal time for the local baseball team to go after new fans.

I intend to beg my son, 16, to accompany me to the sleepover as a combination Father's Day/50th birthday present to his old man. Matt was a fine lefty pitcher through Peewee, but disliked batting as the opponents got bigger and stronger. Now he is "too cool" for baseball, a phase he might outgrow someday, especially if genetics is a factor. Even I drifted away from the game for moment in my early 20's, only to be drawn back for good by the incredible 1975 World Series.

In the "be careful what you wish for" category, I have considered approaching the Jays with a proposal to underwrite kids' recreational leagues in the GTA. Our irresponsible provincial government has destroyed Ontario's once-envied education system, health care, energy resources and social services, and part of the fallout from downloading those costs to municipalities has been the devastation of youth baseball.

The Lizzies, named for the Elizabeth Street playground where they began 75 years ago, were based at Christie Pits until this year, when they became a casualty of financial cutbacks. For a few hours of Delgado's salary, the Blue Jays could initiate programs at the Pits, at Regent Park, and in other neighbourhoods. Have a nominal registration fee, waived in certain circumstances, but reward participants with a uniform and some 500-level tickets to Tampa and Kansas City games. Convert a few soccer players and their families. If it leads to a full-time job for an old Coach, that would be much better than working with computers -- hateful things.

Part of my reluctance to proceed with this idea was a concern about the indifference of management to anything but corporate tie-ins, but the times may indeed be a'changin'.
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