All professional sports teams arrange theme nights to try to get more people through the gates, and the Rainmen were no exception last year – with the three most successful theme nights being “family night” (two for one), minor league hoops night (discounts for kids teams) and Semi-Pro night (give aways related to the movie plus tons of promotion on Q104). With the increased number of weekend games this year attendance will hopefully go up, but the Rainmen still need to add a few special nights to try to draw people – particularly for that lone Thursday home game against Manchester. People have commented on the blog in other posts, but I figured I’d post some of my thoughts and create one place to put that discussion. My thoughts after the jump.
- The Rainmen came up with a great idea where they have offered high school teams the chance to play a game before the Rainmen on the floor at the MetroCentre. The teams can also sell discounted tickets and will split the procedes of the tickets they sell 50/50 with the Rainmen. It brings in new fans, gives kids an amazing chance to play in a huge arena, and serves as good PR. It also gives high school kids an opportunity to get some discounted tickets and lets Rainmen fans catch some high school hoops that they normally wouldn’t see. The schedule is as follows:
- Jan. 9 – Cole Harbour vs. Yarmouth
- Jan. 11 – Horton vs. Sackville
- Jan. 25 – Millwood vs. JL Isley
- Feb. 8 – Lockview vs. CP Allen
- Feb. 15 – Parkview vs. Sir John A. MacDonald
The two biggest games will probably be Cole Harbour which is a high school a lot of Rainmen fans from last year attend, and Horton who may still be undefeated at that point (unfortunately they’re not likely to be beaten by Millwood). The CPA/Lockview game should also draw some people from the ‘burbs. This means that they need to come up with just five additional promotions, although I am sure they can add some neat promotions to those high school games.
- They need to promote promotions (those words are redundant words) early, probably before the season begins. Make a calendar with the promotions and theme nights and then do an add blitz in the lead up, but last year some of them were announced too close to the game day. Joe posted an idea in another thread: give out mini-schedules at the home opener and other events. I think that having a clear piece of advertising material that is also helpful to give out when they go to kids basketball games or other events, and to put in stores and schools around town.
- Family night/two for one night should happen again – it was huge. But they need to make sure season ticket holders are given free tickets so you’re not punishing the most loyal fans. I would consider doing it on the Thursday night game against Manchester (January 29) to prevent that night from being a total wash.
- They should have Mooseheads Night. During a weekend when there is a Rainmen game the night after a Mooseheads game they should offer free (or half off) admission to the Rainmen game with the ticket stub from the Mooseheads game. See if the Mooseheads are willing to do the same thing in reverse on a different weekend. It is a promotion for both teams and the more they can work together the better.
- Military Family Appreciation night could be big. People seemed really into it last year, and with some extra lead time it would be a relatively low risk/cost seat filler. I also think that this year there is a neat plot line to work into it – Halifax a grad from the Citadel (US military college) in Kevin Hammack. To make it even better, Montreal have signed Kevin Dulude – a shooting guard who is one of the most prolific scorers to ever come out of OUA, a CIS all Canadian and arguably the best athlete to ever play varsity athletics at the Royal Military College. A Montreal vs. Halifax match up on Military night is a ready-made plot line! Unfortunately they’d have to either do it early in the season – Jan. 11, second home game – or way too late – season closer on March 28. If they start marketing it now, selling it as stocking stuffers, etc. it could be a pretty awesome opportunity for marketing and a good chance for some military families to get a deal on tickets.
- They need to do something huge for opening night to get people in.
- They need to be smart about how they give out comps. Every event gives out free tickets to pad the room – they need to do the same in such a way that it is either positive PR or is going to people who may return/will tell others to go. One method is something they did towards the end of the season – get sponsors to purchase blocks of tickets for non-profits/youth groups. there should be a whole section, ideally far away from section23, with tickets given to the Boys and Girls Club, LOVE, United Way, whoever by a different sponsor each game. Even if you have to over the tickets at a crazy discount (almost or even totally free some nights to loyal sponsors) they should do it. As for individual comps, they should be given early in the season to minor league and university basketball officials, old boys club members and teams. They should also look to give them to that elusive group of cool, young urban dwellers that marketing types call “taste makers” – record store owners, sneaker fanatics, hip hop and indie rock musicians, music promoters and producers, actors, filmmakers, artists of all types, etc. I know enough people from my time working in the Halifax “music industry” that I’d willing to help them try to get comps in the hands of people from those groups, and I am sure they have enough local connections that they could make it work.
Can anyone think of any other neat promotions or theme nights they should try? Student night last year was a bust but is there a way to make it work?