Red Sox tickets went on sale this weekend, as part of the Christmas at Fenway celebration. Included in those tickets were some games with promotional giveaways attached.
Giving things away to fans brings mixed reactions from the fan base. On the one hand, diehards will say that you should be going to a game to watch the Red Sox play, not because you’re getting a free hat. I can understand that. I always thought Yankees fans should be offended that they sent a Beanie Baby to the Hall of Fame because it was given away at the game where David Wells threw his perfect game. They figured if it weren’t for the giveaway, not as many fans would have been at the historic event. Seriously? A stuffed animal was the only reason people were at the game? But, on the other hand, I can see how some games just aren’t as attractive as others. A Thursday night game in April is just not an easy game to get to. I understand that. It’s late on a work/school night. It’ll probably be cold. It might be rainy. It’s just a lot less fun than other games. So, if the Sox can get people to go to that game instead of a weekend game because of the boblehead, I can’t really blame anyone. I think it’s the “instead” portion of the last sentence that’s important. If I’m a fan looking to go to a game and trying to decide between Sunday against the Yanks, or Tuesday against the Rays I can see where the Sox would want as many people to pick that Tuesday game as they could. After all, Sunday against the Yanks will eventually sell. The other might not. And, in that case, it’s not like I’m only going to a game because of a bobblehead. I was going to a game anyway…it was just a matter of which one.
My real concern when it comes to the giveaways, is I want them to be team appropriate. The Beanie Babies that the Hall of Fame got didn’t have a Yankees logo anywhere on them. They weren’t team collectables. They were just bribes. I don’t like that. I’m not even a big fan of slapping a team logo onto an established product. A Hello Kitty doll with a Red Sox shirt isn’t aimed at Sox fans. It’s aimed at Hello Kitty fans. I don’t need that.
Which is why I think the Sox have done a great job with their giveaways this season.
Looking over the list, I see five bobbleheads. Four of them are active players (Mookie, David Price, Papi, and Xander). The other one is Jason Varitek, who is still a team employee. So, there you see the Sox using giveaways to support the current team, and enhance the experience. They’re not reaching for past legends. They’re not being quirky and giving away Paul Revere bobbleheads. It’s a team giveaway, promoting a team player. When I put one on my shelf, people know I went to a Red Sox game. Perfect.
The Sox are also giving away a team hat and player shirt. Again, perfect. Promoting and celebrating the team with the giveaways.
There are two other Ortiz giveaways that I adore. The first one is the bling necklace. It’s loud. It screams David Ortiz, and is absolutely garish enough that I could see him sporting one himself. Personally, this is my favorite giveaway, and one I will try to get my hands on. They’re also giving away a replica of Ortiz’s 2013 World Series MVP ring. While this one is falling back on past accomplishments, I’ll allow it because it celebrates the retiring Ortiz. If it was just another 2013 ring replica, I’d say they should get over the past accomplishments and start doing something in the present instead. As someone who has the 2013 ring giveaway, I’m looking forward to this ring as well. They were well done in the past, and make for a great collectable.
The Sox also have three giveaways that require a special ticket. For these, everyone who buys a ticket through the special ticket link gets the giveaway, as opposed to just people who line up the earliest. The Star Wars night is the one that grabs my attention the most. Although, that giveaway along with Grateful Dead night are the types of giveaways I don’t like as much. Am I getting a Red Sox item, or a Star Wars item? But, since Star Wars night is more of a universal thing, I’m willing to look away a little more easily and accept it. (Plus, I really want a BB-8 baseball statue.) The “Halfway to St Patricks Day” hat seems like an odd one. It’s just another hat. But, I suppose these three dates are more all-inclusive than the others. The Star Wars night includes characters in the park, and music being played. Grateful Dead night, if I remember, includes more tie-dyed patterns than usual. I’m assuming the St. Patrick’s Day night will include more green than you usually see at the park. More than a giveaway, it’s an event. It’s probably a lot of fun, without taking away from the game itself.
Which is really the key. If you want to encourage people to wear Star Wars Red Sox shits to the game, or dress like Darth Vader in a Red Sox cap, that’s fine. If you want to play only music written by John Williams during the game, that’s just great. None of that affects the product on the field. There’re still 27 outs for each side. They’re not disrupting the flow if R2-D2 makes some of the announcements. The giveaways don’t change anything.
It’s still the product on the field that matters.
Is there a giveaway you’re especially looking forward to?