Like millions of other people, I just saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which debuted atop the box office rankings and stayed near there over Thanksgiving weekend. By the time you read this, it'll have likely surpassed $500 million in ticket sales worldwide. Obviously, there will be a sequel.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last five years, every other major TV and film character has some sort of supernatural power. The Force seizes the zeitgeist again with Rogue One dropping Dec. 16. Next year will give us the first Wonder Woman film and the second installation of Guardians of the Galaxy (with Nathan Fillion!). The second Avatar movie is slated for 2018. So is The Flash movie. Meanwhile, this holiday season Samsung and other tech companies are pushing virtual reality gear hard. After years (and counting) of being bombarded with reality TV, all we want now is an escape from actual reality. And we're willing to pay to get it.
The immediate takeaway is that sci-fi/fantasy shows no sign of losing mojo as ticket-driving special event themes. And we can do that jersey for you (see below). We're also totally down to create a wizard jersey per Fantastic Beasts. The key to drawing more attention and ticket dollars, however, is putting a fresh spin on it. Here are a few ideas:
1. Create Your Own Super Hero. Why not? He or she or it can wear your team's colors, possess certain powers related to baseball (or not, whatever) and "save" officials, players and fans between innings/periods. You could even solicit fans to create the hero, then do a big unveil. You're limited only by your imagination. Just one thing, though ...
2. Turn Virtual Reality on Its Head. You know what's cooler than strapping on a pair of goofy goggles to "feel" what it's like to be a major athlete? Skating up the ice for real in a one-on-one shoot-off against a pro goalie with cat-like reflexes. Or digging in against your pitching coach who used to be a big league pitcher and can still bring it. Call it "Real Virtual Reality" or "Virtual Virtual Reality" Night.
3. It's Magic! Funny how, with all this focus on the supernatural, magicians still get a bad rap. Amiright? I mean, they have a wand, just like Harry Potter and Newt Scamander. Maybe it's the top hat. Yes Edna Mold, it's probably the cape. Maybe magic is right there, just beneath the surface, waiting to become the next big trend. A "Magic Night" has the potential to draw lots of families. Teach kids "magical powers" on the concourse. Host magicians to do between-innings or -periods tricks! How about a bunny petting station? We can do a mean magician's jersey for the occasion.
4. Fantasy Draft Day! I feel as if we're all missing a hidden-in-plain-sight opportunity here. Somehow, minor league sports teams can take advantage of the huge opportunity that is fantasy sports. I'm not talking about the gambling part. I'm talking about event hosting. Drafts are increasingly elaborate affairs groups enjoy holding at unique venues. Bingo. Hockey teams? Fantasy baseball drafts are in March. Baseball teams? Football drafts are in August. Ready, set, go! We'll make the special jersey for the team to wear.