We recently did a Q&A with Vice President, Communications & Marketing of the Baltimore Orioles, Greg Bader.
In what has become a yearly occasion during the offseason, we do a Q&A with him about plans for upcoming the season centered around FanFest, Camden Yards, Spring Training and other informative stuff for fans.
We touched upon on myriad of topics including FanFest, season tickets, spring training in Florida, public reaction to last season, the upcoming winter caravan and their relationship with the Baltimore Ravens.
To start off, I would assume with the Orioles finally getting back into playoffs after 15 years this fall, fans are eagerly anticipating FanFest. What does the organization happen to have planned for the fans this weekend?
We are expecting to see one of the largest turnouts in FanFest history on Saturday, and we hope we can deliver for our fans. There are some interesting fan forums scheduled, including one that shows a few sneak peeks of The BUCKle Up Birds: An Underdog Story DVD.
We will also be showing the DVD in a screening room throughout the day. We’ll have a lot of the old favorites, but some new elements as well to keep things fresh. In all, if you haven’t yet been to FanFest, it’s really a great opportunity to bring your family, enjoy a day of Orioles Baseball surrounded by many friends and fellow fans.
On that note, has there been an increased demand for tickets for the 2013 season? Has the season ticket base grown and aside from the team winning on the field? Also, how does the organization plan to keep fans enticed and interested in the product?
We just recently sent out our season ticket invoices, so that process is still very early. New sales are encouraging in the early stages, and we hope to have a strong day this weekend with our single-game tickets going on sale.
Now is the time to get tickets for the Yankees and Red Sox games, as the longer our fans wait, the more chance there is for visiting team fans to get tickets. Hopefully, as our fans did for the game on September 6, the final weekend series against Boston and the playoffs vs. Yankees, the response from O’s fans will be overwhelming and the percentage of visiting team fans will be reduced for all games in 2013.
As well, has that increased the interest of fans that have inquired about heading down to Sarasota for spring training?
Sarasota is such a great location for families, especially in February in March, so we hope our fans make the trip. Ed Smith Stadium is truly the jewel of the Grapefruit League, and the relationship with have with Sarasota is incredibly positive.
For our Baltimore season ticket holders, we do provide free tickets to select spring training games for our fans able to make it to Florida, so that’s an added incentive to make the trip. According to Visit Sarasota County records, interest in and travel to Sarasota from the Mid-Atlantic region has been up dramatically since our partnership began late in 2009.
In addition, how has the corporate community embraced the newfound success of the Orioles?
We were excited to see the corporate community embrace us during our postseason run last year, and the excitement level has not dissipated so far this offseason. We have had some productive conversations with many new potential partners and appreciate the support from the business community throughout the region. Our partners who have been with us over the past several years have been tremendous as well, and we appreciate their loyalty and support.
I noticed that the Orioles have a Winter Caravan this week that will visit various parts of the Mid-Atlantic. How did the idea come about? I don’t ever remember the team doing that in the past decade or so.
We had several discussions with our minor league affiliates this past year about trying to bring the Orioles to their locations, and this Winter Caravan concept was the perfect solution. An offseason visit by some of our players who are in town for FanFest simply worked out perfectly for all parties. We hope to see plenty of O’s fans at the various events.
Finally, I was also curious about this: I know in the past few years, the Orioles and Ravens have done some cross promotion. With both teams having made the playoffs this season and fan interest at perhaps an all-time high, do you anticipate a greater partnership between the organizations?
We have a great relationship with the Ravens. We will be hosting their cheerleaders and promo teams at FanFest to help generate some more excitement for Sunday’s AFC Championship.
When we were making our postseason push in September, the Ravens were tremendously generous in helping to cross-promote the Orioles whenever possible.
We’ve had a very strong partnership dating back at least five or six years, including Ravens Rallies at Oriole Park, players being recognized at our respective stadiums, and other joint ventures. I know Baltimore sports fans love the synergy between the clubs and we appreciate the opportunities we have to work together.