Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tessie the Green Monster

Yeah, I’m probably a little bit late to the game on this one. But the Red Sox recently revealed that Wally the Green Monster has a sister, Tessie.

From what I can tell, there have been three basic reactions to the announcement. There’s the “Great, instead of winning let’s add another mascot.” group. These people apparently think that the baseball ops section was sitting around working on a trade of Mike Trout for Allen Craig, but dropped all that in order to finalize the design on Tessie. These are the same people who think that John Henry spends too much time in Liverpool because apparently a team owner can only think about one thing every second of his life.

The other reaction is “Cool! She’s so cute!” These people are excited about the extra fun Tessie can be bringing to the game.

I personally fall into the third group. The “Ok. That’s fine” group. I doubt that Tessie is going to enhance my personal fan experience, but I also don’t see how she’ll detract from it.

But, I definitely see why the Red Sox made the move. 

Wally is a pretty important part of the Red Sox merchandising plan. He’s part of their outreach efforts. He’s part of their appeal to kids. If adding a sister enhances those areas in any way, they need to go for it. I’ve talked before about teams marketing mascots or items not relating to the team, and how it doesn’t make any sense. Whether it’s pierogi races in Pittsburgh or President races in Washington, teams are promoting things that have nothing to do with the themselves. They don’t even wear team caps in most cases. When people see my pierogi magnet on my fridge, they have no idea it has anything to do with a baseball team. Wally, on the other hand, wears a Red Sox uniform. If someone has a Wally doll or shirt, it’s unmistakable that he’s associated with the Red Sox. So, kids don’t fall asleep with their favorite pasta dish or founding father in their arms. They fall asleep with the Red Sox mascot.

It’s another way for the Red Sox to control their merchandising. Sure, lots of people want official gear, whether it’s jerseys or hats. But some people like things a little different. So the Red Sox sell shirts with Darth Vader on them. Or Iron Man. Or even Mickey Mouse. That stretches the appeal into other revenue streams. Wally does the same thing, even better. Instead of splitting some of the money with Disney, Wally goes after the same market…but it all theirs. Tessie should be able to expand that. Which is a good thing.

Will it improve the Sox at all? Certainly not directly. But, it should expand awareness. Kids who wear a Tessie shirt to school will be seen supporting the Red Sox, as opposed to Marvel. They’ll be talking about their Tessie items. They’ll want to go to the games to see her. And while they’re there, the hope is that they become fans. Once they’re fans, they’ll buy more tickets. And more, and more. More tickets being bought means more money which means more talent which means more wins which means more fans which means more Tessie t-shirts which means more kids wanting to got to games.

That’s the plan anyway.

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