Minor league baseball teams compete with a plethora of other entertainment options, not the least of which is Major League Baseball. MLB makes it money from a variety of sources, including TV deals, ticket sales, and official team merch. MiLB teams don’t have the same sources of income, so ticket sales – and the corresponding concession sales – are a HUGE part of their profits. Thus, minor league baseball teams often find unique ways to get people to the ballpark.
Perhaps one of the most ingenious ways of selling tickets is to tie them to bobblehead giveaway days. For example, the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League is offering a Bobble Head Plan for 2016, which includes tickets to five Bluefish games “where only those who purchase the plan will receive a limited edition bobble head at each game.” (Bobbles to be named later.) Plus, with every plan purchased you can select “one of three great prizes,” one of which is a Pete Rose bobblehead. Not bad if you live in Connecticut!
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers also have a 2016 Bobblehead Package, for which they state, “By purchasing this package, fans will guarantee themselves a bobblehead and a ticket for all eleven games.” The 11 “guaranteed” bobbles include: team mascot, Fang; Jake Gatewood, Khris Davis, Orlando Arcia, and David Ortiz. It’s a little unclear how this guarantee will work out, but sounds like deal to me!
The Potomac Nationals have a pretty sweet deal themselves: with any of their season ticket plans or ticket packages, you get an “exclusive” season ticket holder bobblehead (although they don’t specify who that might be). You also get early entry into the stadium (15 minutes) for the games you have game plan tickets for, including giveaway days. This is a crucial benefit because those 15 extra minutes can make or break your ability to claim a bobblehead – especially when they’re only giving out a thousand or so. The P-Nats haven’t announced their bobblehead giveaways yet, but I’m considering a 5-game plan for the benefits alone! (In fact, through January 29, you can vote for this year’s Fan’s choice bobble giveaway – I’m voting every day for Gio and Stitch!)
The Frederick Keys also have a great bobblehead deal this year. They are giving away the coveted “Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop Exclusive High Five Double Bobblehead” with any ticket plan, including the 10-ticket reserved seat flex pack. You don’t have to be one of the first in line for a limited giveaway – you just have to send them your money and voila! the bobble is yours! Awesome! I’ll be picking up my double bobble at the first game I attend there this year.
My favorite bobblehead deal comes from the Bowie Baysox. Every year for the past several years they’ve offered a free bobblehead with a season ticket plan or undated ticket pack. I’ve gotten both Jake Arrieta and Manny Machado this way. This year, they offered Jonathan Schoop, who is now proudly displayed in my bobblehead cabinet.
Of course, Major League Baseball tends to follow MiLB when it comes to promotions. A few teams, including the Dodgers and Cardinals, are advertising mini plans that include dates where bobbleheads will be given out. They don’t, however, include any guarantee that you won’t have to get to the stadium 3 hours early to stand in line to be one of the lucky 25,000 who actually get the bobblehead. Maybe they’ll figure out how to do that for next year…