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Trenton Thunder promos tread familiar ground

Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Trenton Thunder (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Trenton Thunder (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Minor league baseball teams rely on selling the overall experience to get fans into the ballpark, so promotions are a big deal.

Some teams, like the Brooklyn Cyclones, try push the envelope with creative theme nights and trendy giveaways.

The Trenton Thunder were one of many teams that tried to capitalize on the pre-Super Bowl “deflate-gate” controversy, but they generally stick with the same fan-favorite promotions every year.

The first round for 2015 announced last week included:

  • 26 fireworks shows
  • 3 bobblehead giveaways – CC Sabathia (July 24), Dellin Betances (Aug. 5), and “Player TBD” (Sept. 4)
  • 1 baseball card set giveaway (May 15)
  • a Brett Gardner kids replica jersey giveaway (April 19)

The most interesting items on the giveaway list are Trenton Thunder sombreros on May 5 and “Clocks in a Can” on Aug. 21.

Elaborating on that latter item, from the Trenton Thunder press release:

Friday, August 21 will give the first 1,500 kids ages 5-15 special Clocks in a Can, presented by NJEA, when the Thunder host the Richmond Flying Squirrels. “It’s a clock that is in a can,” Thunder GM Will Smith explained. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

I’m just going to let that speak for itself.

Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with the fan favorite promos – the baseball card giveaway is going on my calendar in hopes that I can make it to Trenton that night, and I know folks that plan around bobblehead giveaway days.

But Trenton is going to have to try a little bit harder if they want to get the same kind of media coverage with their promo schedule that the Cyclones achieve almost every year.

What’s your favorite minor league baseball promotion?

Which items on Trenton’s promo schedule are you looking forward to?

12 thoughts on “Trenton Thunder promos tread familiar ground

  1. Paul,

    My favorite minor or major league promotion is none as the game should sell itself. After all, if the difference between my going to the game or not is a tchotchke that has little value, then I’m going for the wrong reason. But, if I’m a minor league GM and extra 1,000-2,000 fannies in the stands will more than pay for an order of 5,000 clocks in a can, then promo it is.

    As to why Brooklyn seems to do better in publicity than Trenton does, I’d suspect that Brooklyn is in the NY market while Trenton would probably play better in the Philadelphia market. That being said, are you aware how the Thunder is sold in the Philly market, because I don’t?

    I’ve read articles (sorry, can’t cite chapter and verse at the moment) that shows that the most successful of the promotions, at any level, is fireworks. My guess is that post-game concerts is probably a close second. That being said, what teams should probably do is to schedule the fireworks shows mid-week because they already draw better on Friday and Saturday nights rather than Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Hey, it’s worth a shot and I’m not sure if anyone has tried that.


    1. Anecdotal evidence certainly points to the consistent drawing power of fireworks. I’m surprised teams don’t do midweek fireworks during the summer, but they are limited by what their sponsors want to do.

      Trenton is a weird part of NJ…they’re in between the NYC and Philadelphia markets, and at least as of last season had their own newspapers. But I checked – outside of the places that just republish press releases, nobody touched that “deflated” football promo. (They have gotten good coverage for their bat dog, but that is something fairly unique – I think only one other team does that, and the dog is related to the Trenton one.)


      1. Paul,

        The deflated football thing is cute but the timing sucks big time as the promo itself is seven months out and, by then, there will be a hundred other things that will catch people’s attention, so nobody will care much. Certainly, most of the humor of it will be gone. As far as bat dog–the dog is there every night, I guess.


      2. And the other problem with the football thing – a bunch of other teams decided to announce deflate-gate things. The smart ones just “deflated” ticket prices for a day & hopefully made their fans laugh. The ones that expected other people to care were largely disappointed, I’m sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Paul,

        Serious question now…

        Is there any minor league GM that’s going against the grain, so to speak? The reason I ask is that it’s kind of like what Richie Hebner said about those concrete ashtrays of the ’70s–you could be in Riverfront, Three Rivers, the Vet and really couldn’t tell the difference. You go to a minor league game now and the promos and other shtick are mostly the same. So, is there anyone out there who’s not working the same corner, so to speak, and is truly creative? I mean, how many minor league GMs are jumping on deflate-gate, even if the timing stinks?


  2. Man, I’ve gotta find me some contacts in Trenton to get me that baseball card set.

    And my favorite promo is when you get to meet a player and have that player sign an autograph (in person and right in front of you) in exchange that you buy at least one regular season ticket.
    The SI Yanks did this prior to the 2014 season when they had Hideki Matsui sign free autographs for people who came to the ballpark and purchased at least one ticket. For a guy (read: autograph hound) like me it’s the perfect promo.


    1. Remind me in May & I’ll pick up a set for you if you want it – the giveaway is almost always the same as the team set they sell in the shop. (Back in 2007, they did do a slightly different one with a few extra cards – I remember Roger Clemens and Paul Thorp were among them, but I don’t know who else – I wasn’t lucky enough to get one.)

      I was sorry I missed the Hideki Matsui promo last year – I’d planned to go, but something or other came up.


    1. Yes, I think he was a good choice. I’m not sure why they picked CC Sabathia, though – would he still appeal to Yankees fans?


  3. I’ve made the trip to Coney Island several times for the jersey giveaways. (I’m in Northeastern NJ, so it’s not too bad a trip). I think it’s getting more difficult to find interesting giveaways, I have about 4 NJ Jackals hats (all pretty much the same) and a handful of t-shirts. Fireworks are always cool, the Jackals shows run almost 15 minutes, the Boulders show wasn’t bad either.

    Might take the trip to Trenton for the card set.

    Liked by 1 person

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