Yankees Direct Mail Pitches More Than Tickets

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The New York Yankees have had little trouble filling seats or creating fan interest in recent years, but the team still swings for the fences with direct mail. During the past several weeks, the baseball franchise has mailed its "Pride, Power, Pinstripes" ticket information and fan guide brochure to 1 million households in an effort to maximize its home schedule, which begins April 11.


The 32-page book is four pages longer than last year's version and includes a few design tweaks. On page 2 appears an ad offering game-used baseballs and bases. This ad was moved up to a more prominent spot this year after the team noticed increased interest from fans for those products.


"We looked at our inquiries from Yankees.com, we looked at frequently asked questions, and if we thought that those ideas were not being properly displayed, we increased their presence in the fan guide," said Deborah Tymon, senior vice president of marketing for the New York Yankees, the Bronx, NY. "We do not need this piece to impact ticket sales because they are still growing. But there's still a percentage of people out there that do not know all of what Yankee Stadium offers in terms of different experiences. We can inform them about the [luxury] suites, guided tours and special events. We can educate them on special packages that make coming to the stadium affordable."


The 9-by-6-inch brochure involves a menu indexed on the right side in a stepped fashion. After opening the front cover, the stepped design lets the recipient read all of the section titles, which are printed vertically top to bottom at the edge of the book. The recipient can thumb through categories for ticket packages, group sales, specials, tours, a stadium seating map and other information.


Prices for single-game tickets appear for as little as $5 while still-available season packages top out at $3,645. Stadium tours cost anywhere from a few bucks for grade schoolers up to $25 for the more extensive walk-arounds. Full-color photos of Yankee stars like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson accompany many of the product pitches in the book, which was printed on glossy, 100-grade paper. Pages 16 and 17 are dedicated to an artistically rendered collage of Yankee Stadium when it debuted in 1923 and the team's newly planned stadium proposed to open in 2009.


"We go for a high quality when it comes to the images, the color, the size and the scope of the layout," Tymon said. "There's a significant investment in what I think is a bit of a 'statement piece' for this franchise. But it's also a comprehensive guide to every aspect of what you can do with the New York Yankees. If you just do a mail piece that is about buying game tickets, someone might not want to purchase tickets at that time, and the guide becomes instant trash. In our case, the design encourages them to look at this booklet all season long. It has a season-long shelf life."


Households that receive the brochure come from a file of past purchasers of tickets, suite rentals, tour bookings and gift items (online and stadium shop) as well as fan club members. Tymon said that ongoing e-mail campaigns, print ads and TV/radio commercials will work in conjunction with the brochure mailing.


"I think e-mail marketing works well for the younger, more Internet- and computer-savvy fans while direct mail marketing reaches our entire fan base," she said. "When we do our direct mail piece, we try to catch them in that two-second window with the Yankee brand on the envelope. It makes them pay attention and open it. The artistic image on the cover of the fan guide, we believe, really draws them into what the Yankees all have to offer. It's the strength of that image that makes this a piece they hold onto."


The Yankees easily led Major League Baseball in attendance last year by drawing more than 4 million fans, up about 300,000 tickets from 2004. And while most Major League teams mail ticket offers featuring a famous player or two on the cover of their pieces, the star-studded Yankees are simply employing the franchise's pinstriped uniform and intertwined "NY" logo. Tymon, who designed the front cover and has helped run the team's direct marketing for 22 years, said that putting Jeter or Rodriguez on the cover was never seriously considered.


"The logo represents the entire team and organization without singling out an individual player because the Yankees are about the whole team and not one individual player," she said. "I have watched this piece evolve as the organization has evolved. Around 1995, the volume of our mailing started to grow. As tourism in NYC has increased in recent years, the interest in the Yankees has grown. We've always been a tourism destination, but it's really increased in the last decade or so."


Christopher Heine covers CRM, analytics and production and printing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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