Is there anything better than summer time?! Walking on the boardwalk, watching the waves ebb in and out, the smell of salt water mixing in with a greasy bucket fries. Or sitting around the pool cracking open buckets of crabs smothered in Old Bay and eatingyour ice cream cone before it melts down to your fingers. Or what about, the sounds of screaming fans, the wafting aroma of hot dogs and popcorn, the stickiness of cotton candy and Cracker Jack all over your hands and the crack of the bat against the ball. It’s America’s favorite pastime, and mine, it’s a baseball game! Well, an Orioles’ Game to be exact :).

One of the best perks about living just twenty minutes away from a major city, are the major league sports! I am a bird fan through and through, I bleed purple for the Ravens in the fall and winter and orange for the Orioles all summer long. And though the O’s may not be the best baseball team around, all that means for baseball fans like me is that I only have to pay $6 dollars to see a Yankee game ;).

I recently went to my first O’s
student night of the season and as I expected, I had a blast. Camden Yards is a beautiful stadium with lots of open space surrounding the bleachers to walk around, and as a big fan of free stuff (really, who isn’t?!) I love stopping at all the vendors trying to promote their companies. Well some of the other booths may get overlooked, like buying Orioles gear for the low, low price of $75 dollars (I’d rather buy the same shirt outside, knockoff style for oooh about $70 dollars less), the vendors giving away goodies always seems to have some semblance of a line. Getting a free poncho or waterproof blanket when the weather forecast for the evening may turn sour, in exchange for me filling out a piece of paper stating I may potentially sign up with Visa for a credit card…now that’s some great marketing!

When I’m finally seated inside the stadium my attention is usually turned to the Jumbotron (somehow I always manage to forget my glasses meaning I have no hope of actually seeing the game) where all the action happens…ya know, besides the actual game (I’m going to be truthful now and say 90% of the reasons I enjoy baseball games so much is because of the food, not really the baseball) :). I love watching the screen for the surprise wedding proposals, congratulations and retirement announcements, especially because as someone who is slowly learning their way around the fields of public relations and advertising I enjoy picking out all the subtle PR strategies that appear on the big screen.

I would have to say the most successful approach to promoting their own name, that the Orioles’ have is their use of events. Whenever the “Happy Birthday to So and So” appears on the Jumbotron, the next screen is always one that talks about hosting your own private party at Camden Yards. What a great birthday party that would be for a
young child, an experience they will remember forever and what a great way to get
adults to buy goodie bags, favors, plates, cups, balloons and probably even a cake all sporting the O’s logo! Why I may be mistaken, but to me that sounds like free publicity. Free publicity for the Orioles that the parents of the birthday boy are paying for…because let’s be honest, having a private party for at least 20 people at a baseball stadium is most likely not going to be as cheap as a pizza party in your backyard.

Heck, even the game I went to that night was a promotional event, “Student Night” which is every Friday home game, where students pay $6 dollars for a ticket. I recently found out (when I was handed the O’s promotional schedule as I walked in the gates) that these student nights are sponsored by the telecommunications company AT&T, I have attended student nights for years and had no idea, I figured it was just a ploy by the O’s to up their attendance. Well with this information in my hands, the idea of student nights became a whole other ball game (if you can’t tell by now, I love puns!), to put it simply AT&T is most likely paying the Orioles to promote their own company by hosting these student nights, offering cheap tickets to the fans but it probably doesn’t come cheap to AT&T…so the O’s are being paid to host an event that is meant to attract people to come to their games?! Sounds like a win-win situation for the Orioles to me.

I will be frank though (get it? Like a Frankfurter! Hehe) and say that regardless if I knew of all the events that O’s have or not, I would most likely still attend at least one game a season, baseball games are always high on my list of summer to-dos, but the words “free” and “cheap” don’t exactly hurt either ;).