There is a NC Times article about the Padres and their "creative" efforts to sell more tickets. I'm looking through the article and, as far as I can tell, the Padres are going to do the following to attract more fans to the games:
- Lower ticket prices on almost (read less than) 25% of the games.
- Promotions on 48 of 81 home games.
- Seven 2-for-1 ticket games.
- 5 for $5 at every home game. Five bucks gets you a hot dog, soda, peanuts, popcorn and a cookie.
- Upper reserved ticket, hot dog and soda are $12 on all Friday through Sunday home games.
Somewhere, Bill Veeck rolled over in his grave at the association of the word "creative" with those five bullet points. Don't get me wrong. The effort is somewhere in there. I have yet to see what these promotions are and the five for five is something I might take advantage of. But seriously, this is not something to write home about.
It's also a bit frustrating because, as a marketer and a fan, it feels like a bunch of things that go through the motions of appearing sympathetic as opposed to actually being sympathetic. Shouldn't the verbiage be really easy?
What it should be: "As a way of thanking fans that have stuck with us through a rough season, and to all the Padres out there who've been with us throughout our 40 years, here are some ways we're saying thank you, with more to come..."
What it is:
"We thought (lowering prices) was a major step in response to the economy," Alderson said. "We will continue to emphasize value in the atmosphere and experience. We're trying to make tickets and concessions as affordable for as many people as possible. I expect we will be proactive as the season progresses. People will realize Padres baseball is a great value."
Value? Proactiveness? Ugh. Nerd alert.
Geoff over at Ducksnorts touched a little bit on bandwagon Padres fans. In his post, he recalls that douche Padres fan that tried sell his allegiance on eBay. Personally, I think offering up your fanhood is a prick move regardless of the team's current state, but I digress.
The most important part of that story is the fact that the Red Sox bought the guys fanhood. Not some overzealous Red Sox fan. The Red Sox.
Now I, as a short sighted what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of guy, looked at this guy as some dude being a prick and decided to mostly ignore him, which is apparently what the Padres and 28 other MLB teams decided to do.
The Red Sox thought to themselves, heck, let's offer this guy a bag of authentic Fenway dirt, some stickers, photos, a personally signed letter and pay the $12 or whatever it is the guy's asking for. They turned this guy into an opportunity. In one fell $20 swoop, they reaffirmed to anybody paying attention that the Red Sox care about their fans and they care about acquiring new fans.
Why didn't the Padres do this?
Did the Padres not hear about it? Were they not paying attention? Was this guy beneath them?
What, were they afraid that if they gave this guy any attention, more people would get online and offer up their baseball allegiance in an effort to score some free schwag off of the team? So send all of them letters and a pin also. How hard could that possibly have been?
Maybe that guy is a bad example. The Padres are better off without him, but maybe the guy was just crying out for help. Maybe if somebody out there had made him feel special, he wouldn't have done such a douche move.
I'll tell you right now that the easiest way to win over a fan is to make that fan feel special. And the easiest way to make somebody feel special is to actually pay attention to them. How many of you were completely indifferent to Bob Scanlan before he started commenting here? How many Gaslamp Ballers went to games over the last couple seasons, saw Pad Squad Andre and said, "Oh, he's the nice Pad Squad guy I saw on the Internet." Every time Gaslamp Ball got mentioned by Matt Vasgersian, it was like trading 5 seconds of his time for a little bit of reassurance to anybody that heard that Matt Vasgersian cares what fans think of him.
This is why I like the fact that Darren Smith thought to mention us. Personally, I like Darren Smith. He's an "everyman". Not in the way that Tony Kornheiser pretends to be an "everyman", but in the way that when I get exasperated by something, Darren Smith seems to get exasperated by it too. His interviews with Sandy Alderson were always enlightening to me just in the way that Sandy always seemed to react to whatever Darren was asking in a way that screamed, "You are not as smart as me. You don't get it. You will never get it."
Maybe we don't get it, Darren, but part of me feels a little sorry for the emotionless ones who do.