To Comp or Not To Comp?
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As close a kinship as Major and Minor League Baseball share, there are some distinct differences in the way that each approach business. Specifically and most obviously, Minor League teams have long been the breeding ground for new and untested promotional concepts.

One of my favorite things about the Minor League model is that it allows for spontaneous creativity- hear something on the news on the drive into the office, talk it over with a few team members in the morning, and you’re implementing a top-of-mind promotion that night or later that homestand. Major League teams simply aren’t built that way. Every idea presented to the public is a risk, and in the Big Leagues, the stakes are simply much higher. Is every promotion then scrutinized to the point of possibly squashing that impulsive spark to act on a good idea?

This week, a Major League Baseball team was faced with one of those top-of-mind situations and their solution was patently Minor League. In the case of the Tampa Bay Rays though, the news story they turned into a promotion was caused by two of their star players. After Evan Longoria and David Price referred to the potential playoff-clinching crowd at Tropicana Field on Monday night as “embarrassing” and disheartening”, the Rays front office quickly jumped to action.

Two nights later on Wednesday, 20,000 free tickets were made available to Rays fans. Rather than sit idly by and hope the story went away, the organization moved on that spontaneous idea to turn a negative into a positive. However, their idea revolved around the cardinal sin of professional sports: the mass distribution of comp tickets.

It was certainly a risky proposition for a number of reasons. While the casual fan or media observer may think it’s a wonderfully generous proposition, there are several cons to consider along with the obvious pros of the mass comp strategy. The positives offer immediate gratification, while the negatives present some serious longer term issues that could linger far after the season ends.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Carter looks at the Positives and Negative aspects of Comp'ing and looks at how this appears to have worked out for the Tampa Bay Rays in the rest of this Premium Content Article on

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