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If there’s one thing the Fresno Grizzlies know, it’s how to have fun. Even if you’re not a baseball fan (which is an idea I find inconceivable), you can’t go to a game and not have a good time.
Whether it’s food, entertainment or special theme nights, there’s something for everyone. And although the season is winding down, the Grizzlies are making a run at the playoffs, and there is plenty of other excitement in store for the final few games.
One popular theme night coming up on Friday, Aug. 18 is the Princess Ball. Kids who show up in costume will be given a free ticket to the game.
Among the princesses in attendance will be Beauty, Anna & the Snow Queen, Elena, Moana, and Rapunzel and her man, Flynn. Captain America and Wonder Woman will be guarding the entrance to the ball, which will take place in the cantina area. There, fans can take photos with characters, as well as participate in sing-alongs of beloved songs.
Oreo Taco Night Inspired by a True Love of the Cookie
Another night that the whole family—and whole city—can look forward to is the Oreo Taco Night on Thursday, Aug. 24. The team will be sporting Oreo-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off for charity, and frozen treat shop Cream will be on hand to make Oreo ice cream tacos, first dreamed up by Grizzlies Director of Marketing Sam Hansen for Oreo’s “My Oreo Creation Contest.”
Sam is a prolific collector of Oreos. He has more than 60 different flavors of Oreos from around the world. I asked him where the interest came from.
“I have always been a huge fan of marketing and promotions and also packaging and design,” Sam said. “When I started to notice that Oreo was extending its iconic brand by releasing flavor variations and hybrids like the Cakester in the late ‘90s, I started saving the packages. Once I had access to my own freezer I began using the same model I use for my sneaker collection: ‘One to rock, one to stock.’ With Oreos, it is ‘One to eat, one to freeze.’ ”
Grizzlies Marketing Earns National Attention
This is only the latest of many genius promotions that Sam has created in his time at the Grizzlies. He’s responsible for Taco Truck Throwdown, the Grizzlies playing as the Tacos on Tuesday nights, the Frankenslice pizza, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle night, and much, much more.
“My favorite promos absorb all elements of the stadium and game and turn the experience into more than a show. We want to create great memories,” Sam said. “Promotions like our TMNT Night in 2014 provided us not only with unique jerseys that instantly went viral, but also with collaborative themed merchandise that set sales records in the team store. TMNT characters interacted with fans on the concourse and between inning skits. We had head shots, food, and a lunchbox gate giveaway, all encompassing the TMNT theme.”
Thanks to Sam, the Grizzlies have become well known in the sports world for its marketing and theme nights. What are the essential elements for a good promotion?
“We usually look for two main elements when deciding on promotions. One, is there a local cultural connection for us? Things that are quintessentially Central Growlifornian, [such as] tri-tip, Jerry Tarkanian, taco trucks, etc.,” Sam said. “Two, if we notice that something is up-trending in popular culture: Pokémon Go, TMNT, taco trucks. Our biggest successes have been when we have a theme like taco trucks that balances the two.”
As for ideas that haven’t made it? Well, most of those are top secret. But Sam did spill one that he’s still hoping will be approved someday: “A Ninja Theme Night that includes a throwing star range. Fans would also be asked to sign a petition ending the senseless law ‘section 22410’ that bans throwing stars in California. How can someone be a real ninja if they aren’t allowed to carry throwing stars?”
And that, ladies and gents, is a pretty good summation of everything that makes Sam Hansen a genius. Imagination, guts, and determination.
In addition to the promos mentioned in the beginning of my post, there’s a few others of note.
- Friday, Aug. 25 is Christian Fellowship Night. After the game and Friday night fireworks, Christian artist David Dunn will be performing a special live concert. Groups that purchase tickets can also take advantage of a deal where each person will receive an additional ticket for the game on Aug. 26 or 27. For more information, contact Brandon Aurecchione at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-320-2535.
- The Grizzlies will once again have their 4, 3, 2, 1 promotion, where the fourth-to-last game of the season (Oreo Taco Night) will have $4 tickets, the third-to-last game will have $3 tickets, then second-to-last is $2 and final game will be only $1.
- Speaking of the final game of the season, Sunday, Aug. 27 will be Fan Appreciation Night. Promotional items from the season will be given away to randomly chosen fans throughout the game.
If none of this is enough to convince you, well then, how about free tickets? Sign up now for the FresYes Insider weekly newsletter for a chance to win a set of ticket vouchers this weekend! We gave away 24 vouchers last weekend and are giving away 24 more tomorrow.