Minor League Baseball Launches Major Gift Pack Promo

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This summer Minor League Baseball will team with promotions marketer Omnimark and event marketer Trade Zone to give retailers the opportunity to contact almost 10 million people as part of a nationally coordinated consumer sampling program to be held at the more than 150 ballparks throughout the country.

Omnimark, New York, is planning to hand out localized gift packs to a large portion of the more than 35 million fans as they exit from the minor league baseball games. The contents of the packages and the offers made by participating retailers will be promoted throughout the course of the game by announcers between innings, said Tim Hawkes, managing partner of Trade Zone, Westport, CT, the event marketing company that will co-create the gift packs with Omnimark and will track the redemption rates of the coupons.

According to Hawkes, most minor league baseball teams usually run their own promotional events and sampling programs within their own stadiums, but this time all 159 teams will participate in a coordinated marketing effort. "It provides [Minor League Baseball] with the opportunity to get a lot out of their main revenue source."

It also gives the packaged good producers the chance to reach their target audience. "Our audience is middle- and upper-income, college-educated families with young children, which is a perfect match for packaged goods brands," said Rod Meadows, marketing director of the Minor Leagues.

Omnimark is hoping to have 10 retail companies on board by the start of the program. "We have talked to all of the Fortune 100 food companies, three of the leading domestic automobile manufacturers and all of the financial services companies," he said. "So far each one of them has shown a lot of interest in wanting to take part."

The program -- which is slated to begin either in late April or early May -- will be conducted in three drops of increasing volume that will last for one week each. The first drop of 1 million packages is scheduled to take place at the beginning of the season; the second, at the season's halfway point; and the third, during the playoffs. Mike Hartel, president of Omnimark, said the ballpark drops will coincide with a similar gift package sampling program of 1 million pieces that will take place simultaneously at shopping centers and malls located near the participating ballparks.

Hawkes said there will be no test drop for the program.

Attendance for the games is expected to be high, according to Hawkes, with Minor League Baseball attendance about 62 percent higher than the National Basketball Association, 96 percent higher than the National Hockey League and 122 percent higher than the National Football League.

The program also will allow advertisers to reach 70 percent of the top 100 dominant marketing areas in the United States, he said.

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