Posted on October 13, 2020 by National Sports Forum | Selling It | SUBSCRIBE

“The San Diego Padres Drive-In Their Own Home Runs

The San Diego Padres created a Drive-In experience to give the Friar Faithful some postseason fun! 

By: Justin Tropp & Ryan Luong



Dear Faithful Readers,

It’s been a crazy year but I’m excited to finally be watching some playoff baseball and Larry O’Brien Trophy finding its way back to my Lakers after 10 very long years! I hope everyone is staying safe in these crazy times and I’m looking forward to getting back to the norm in sports and entertainment.

On this edition of the Selling It feature, we take you through the San Diego Padres’ creative idea for engaging their fans in a safe and responsible way. Read more to see just how they pulled this off. Enjoy!


Carlie Dawson

Marketing and Communications Manager

P.S. – Buy your badge now for our Virtual Holiday Summit before prices increase on November 1st! Click HERE for more information.


“The San Diego Padres Drive-In Their Own Home Runs

Program Description: 

It’s everything you know and love about postseason baseball… Home runs! Double plays! Lightning-fast pitches!.. But without the fans? With safety restrictions during these trying times, organizations have had to reach outside the box to interact with their fanbases. The Padres Postseason Drive-In watch events had their Friar Faithful park in designated spots in their Lexus Lot for their Wild Card series against the St. Louis Cardinals. After a smashing success, the Padres moved their watch events to the Tailgate Lot, featuring 1,000 parking spaces. The organization sold approximately 300-400 spaces per playoff game, ensuring that each car full of fans would have enough space to effectively practice social distancing. To maintain additional safety, masks were strictly enforced if fans chose to view the game from outside of their cars. The parking lot premiered six (6) high-quality LED screens and provided amplified sound. Attendees also had the option to use an FM transmitter connecting to the radio. Fans who purchased a ticket received a plethora of ballpark treats that they typically would have had the option to buy in the stadium. The food that was provided to fans were from Petco Park concession partners. In addition, each car received four (4) rally towels, four (4) hats, and a car flag. Due to the National League Division Series being a best-of-five series, any unplayed games were refunded.


The year 2020 has already brought a lot of uncertainty to the sports world, and teams are all searching for creative ways to safely give their fans the in-person viewing experiences that they miss. The San Diego Padres have developed a unique and innovative way for their fanbase to come together and watch one of the most exciting teams in baseball. Fans were able to purchase tickets for playoff games and enjoy a cutting-edge drive-in viewing experience in the Padres tailgate lot. This initiative allowed the Padres to maintain and build the relationships with their fanbase. In addition, the Padres were able to reach out to and activate their sponsors to bring the fun of postseason baseball to their fans. Every sports fan misses the experience of watching these high stakes playoff games live. Although Petco Park remained empty throughout the season, fans were still able to enjoy some of the camaraderie with other “Friar Faithful.” The massive tailgate lot used for the Padres Drive-In experience provided fans with the opportunity to interact with fellow fans in a safe and responsible manner.


This initiative provided the Padres the opportunity to engage a number of their partners and sponsors. Budweiser Zero teamed up with the Padres as the official presenting partner of the drive-in experience. For the food, the Padres partnered up with their existing sponsors. This included Buona Forchetta, Seaside Market, and Barrio Dog: three restaurants already located inside Petco Park.


Fans have been raving about the Padres’ Drive-In experience. The Padres were able to sell hundreds of spots and support roughly 1,000 fans at every playoff game without any safety issues. The event sold out in a matter of hours. At one point, the waitlist held 600 fans hoping for their chance to see this socially-distanced spectacle. The format for the Drive-In experience at Petco has also been utilized for other entertainment and non-gameday events such as concerts and high school graduations. This style of entertainment allowed for the Padres to hit multiple marks. They were able to create a safe way to engage their loyal fans and team sponsors.

Looking Ahead: 

The Padres have been blown away by the success of the Postseason Drive-In experience. With that being said, the organization was able to host a total of six (6) postseason games in their lots. Although teams and organizations hope to bring their fans back to their seats, the safety, flexibility, and success of the event could lead to future events in a similar style.


For more information regarding The Postseason Drive-In, please contact Jaclyn Lash, Vice President, Special Events, at


The National Sports Forum is the largest annual cross-gathering of the top team sports marketing, sales, promotions, and event entertainment executives from throughout the broad spectrum of teams and leagues in North America. Visit for more information.



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