Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp “Words with Fans” NightPosted on September 6, 2018 by National Sports Forum | Selling It | SUBSCRIBE
JACKSONVILLE JUMBO SHRIMP “WORDS WITH FANS NIGHT”
A SUCCESS ACROSS THE BOARD
Jumbo Shrimp Host Scrabble Filled Weekend
By Larissa Lakin
Dear Faithful Readers,
I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend! With Labor Day behind us, it means that the Summer has now come to a close and school is starting back up. This week’s Selling it is the perfect way to celebrate this transition!
As an avid Scrabble player, I’m excited to bring you this week’s story from the Minor League baseball team, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. The organization decided to capitalize on Scrabble’s 70th anniversary and put their own twist on the popular board game with the unique promotion “Words With Fans.” Enjoy the Read!
Marketing & Communications Manager
“The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp effectively demonstrated the way that nostalgia can play a role in engaging their fan base with this initiative. “Words with Fans Night” is an excellent example of the creative ways that sports teams can connect with their fans by creating themed nights centered around the things that fans know and love. This promotion created memories that will last well beyond the last inning.”
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Jacksonville Jumbro Shrimp “Words with Fans” Night
This year marks the 70th Anniversary for the iconic Scrabble board game. Realizing this, Marketing & Special Events Manager for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp David Ratz believed that developing a night based on Scrabble could set this promotion apart from typical themed nights hosted by MiLB teams. “We’re always trying to do something different…something out of the box,” says Ratz.“Words with Fans Night,” a two-day Scrabble-themed promotion held July 14–15th achieved exactly that by taking elements “out of the [Scrabble] box” and implementing them on the field. The overall goal of “Words with Fans Night” was to not only increase ticket sales, but to also create national exposure for the Jumbo Shrimp through this unique, multi-layered promotion.
“Words with Fans Night” was held in July, but the game received attention months beforehand, when the Jumbo Shrimp’s Scrabble-themed baseball caps and jersey designs were released to the public. The caps included a “J” for Jumbo Shrimp on the front layered over a Scrabble board-colored background, while the jerseys creatively intersected the words “Jumbo” and “Shrimp” as they would in a Scrabble game. The buzz centered around these eccentric and retro pieces caused an increase in pre-sales for the merchandise, and kept fans excited for the game night well before the first pitch was thrown.
A day before the game, a Scrabble tournament officially sanctioned by the North American Scrabble Players Association was held in the 3rd floor lounge of the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville to kick start the fun-filled weekend. Players from all over the region gathered to compete and have a chance to win a cash prize plus a game used base which had been painted with a “J” to have the appearance of a game tile signed by each member of the Jumbo Shrimp team.
On “Words with Fans Night,” reigning North American Scrabble Champion Will Anderson was invited to attend and engage in Scrabble games with fans. Upon entering the stadium, ticket holders were given square cork coasters with a game tile “J” in the center. During a rain delay, Anderson joined around 30 fans on the concourse to play each in a round of Scrabble. It is believed that these games broke the existing record for most simultaneous games of Scrabble being played.
In addition to including the North American Scrabble Players Association, the Jumbo Shrimp partnered with North Florida Baptist Children’s Home, a local charity which aids children and families in need. Fans were given a discount price on tickets when they brought books to donate towards this organization. Hosting a book drive was a great way to give back to the surrounding community and benefit a worthy cause. Many books were donated to this initiative, which directly related to the “words” theme of the night.
Attention to detail and complete commitment to the Scrabble theme made “Words with Fans Night” a huge success. As mentioned previously, the creative design of the night’s baseball caps and jerseys resulted in profitable merchandise sales for the Jumbo Shrimp. Releasing these designs months before the event caught the attention of fans nationally and internationally alike, even causing a Dutch jersey company to reach out the Jumbo Shrimp who commended their creative efforts.
In this way, the original objectives set by the team were easily achieved, as ticket sales for the night increased and word spread through social media and news outlets about the event. The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp created a night that delighted existing fans, cultivated new ones, benefited their community and broke a Scrabble world record.
When asked if the Jumbo Shrimp would include this promotion in next year’s schedule, Ratz had a surprising answer, stating: “We won’t be doing the same promotion. We’re always trying to think of things bigger, better and more importantly, different.” With this outlook, we have no doubt that the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp will continue to develop original and innovative initiatives for seasons to come.
For more information contact David Ratz, Marketing and Special Events Director for the Jacksonville Jumbro Shrimp at David@jaxshrimp.com.
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