Here is a bipartisan observation. America is going to be pretty freaked out after November 8, regardless of who wins the Presidential Election. And our collective anxiety about the state of things will likely spill over into all of 2017.
Your fans will need comfort. They will need a release. And many will turn to sporting events for a much-needed diversion. Be there for them. Let your team and event and arena or ballpark or stadium be chicken soup for their troubled souls. As always, I have a few promotional ideas to help you really connect with them ...
1. Tout Your Turf
Over the last couple of years, I've noticed a trend not just here in North Carolina but everywhere I've traveled. People are planting flags, figuratively speaking. They want to represent where they're from, whether it's on a T-shirt or bumper sticker or yard decor. The best example I can think of is the success of The Home T. The company with the shirts that have the U.S. state shape and "home" caption. That resonates right now, especially.
Several teams have already successfully celebrated local pride this year, including the Johnson City Cardinals. It ran a Tennessee Pride" promotion every Tuesday this past summer, with the team wearing a jersey design featuring state flag icons and, of course, the Tennessee shape. The Durham Bulls didn't just play off local vernacular with its special "Durm" Night, it had a local streetwear designer, RUNAWAY, work with us to create the game jersey. Wildly popular.
At its core, this idea zeroes in on something unique about your town and playing it up in an event night that will make your fan base feel prideful and secure about where they live and forget for a few hours all the turmoil this election has stirred up.
2. Bring Back the Good Ol' Days
One thing we've learned over the last year is a sizable portion of the population likes things just the way they are/were. This isn't a groundbreaker, but the time is now for throw-back nights.
Remember that time your team won the championship? Bingo. Celebrate it, maybe even if it's not a nice, round anniversary year. How about that time whatshisname, the guy who made it big, played here? Yep. Tout it. Bring that player back for some pre-game ceremonial thing if you can.
Be creative and just run with it. Is your special retro jersey from a team in the Carter years, when everyone waited in line at the gas pumps? Raffle off gas cards! Celebrate polyester (ironically, a petroleum-based product). Is it an 80s night? Let's get physical! Work with a local gym that offers whatever the modern version of aerobics classes are. Yoga, right? How about leg warmers matching your team's hockey socks? Talk to Kyle. We may be able to make those for you, too.
3. Ice Cream Social
Perhaps it's a stereotype, but our top stress eating food is ice cream. Okay, that's a non-scientific claim. MY number-one stress-eating food is ice cream. Bottom line? We all have a comfort food (burgers, mac 'n cheese, pizza, chocolate in any form and, in desperate times, Hot Pockets) we prefer when the going gets tough. Therein lies opportunity.
Surely, your community has local spots that serve the goods. A local manufacturer? Even better. And perhaps a national sponsor will get on board with a jersey sponsorship. During breaks in play, you could do the classic eating contest (although that can be messy) or a "play with your food" kind of contest. If you celebrate mac 'n cheese, macaroni art! Pizza? Frisbee toss!
Look, things may change over the next year or so whether we like it or not. But one thing that won't change is our collective appetite. Amiright?