Best of 2010: The Review
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Our annual review of all things operations and entertainment was done by polling a dozen of our most trusted non-biased industry pros.  Of course in an industry so spread out and diverse it is impossible to find a large group of people who have seen it all, but an effort was made to find people who have seen a lot. We also took note of stories and reviews from web sources and industry literature.

We now consider seven categories with in game operations and game presentation.  The votes are in and our winners are below.

Best Act:

The touring act or halftime show that excels in providing quality entertainment for your fans. Consider drawing power, quality, cooperation of the act, media, and value. All touring acts and non-team affiliated shows and performers are considered.

Winner:  Remote Kontrol

Interesting for a group that is brand new to dominate the voting, collecting almost a unanimous ballot.  One panelist noted they have potential to take the halftime circuit by storm...and it seems like they already have.  

The act is driven by performer Bryan Gaynor, who is an amazing performer particularly in light of having scoliosis and Klippel-Feil Syndrome.  He gained national acclaim after appearing on So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Got Talent and has recently added NBA halftimes to his busy dance card.  

This surprise winner also highlights how shows like America’s Got Talent are the new breeding ground for top-level halftime touring acts.

@RemoteKontrol on Twitter

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Best Entertainment Group:

Performance Group whose work was fresh, creative and interesting, serving as a valuable tool for their team and in their community. Providing quality entertainment and additional value for fans. All sports team performance groups are eligible. Consider quality, uniqueness, and marketplace value.

Winner:  Twittering Organist Matthew Kaminski

Honorable Mention: Tampa Bay Rays' Dancing Groundskeeper

The surprises continue with two more acts that weren’t on our radar as recently as last year.   
Fans get excited about having input into the live and unpredictable music selection, which is often learned on the spot.

Two new solo entertainers worked the way into award winners for Best Entertainment Group, overcoming the lack of obvious teammates in their presentations.

First is Atlanta Braves Twittering Organist Matthew Kaminski.  This is a throw-back to the future style act, combing the fading art of a live organist with the 21st century penchant for social media.  This unique combination is winning over fans both at the part and across the Twitterverse as Matthew engages fans on what he should play.  He quickly decides on the best ideas and pipes in the sound at the next opportune moment.  Often times he’s searching out songs on the Internet on the fly so he can learn how to play the requested tune.    Here is a great audio story from NPR covering Matthew’s act.

Honorable Mention goes to the Tampa Bay Rays Dancing Groundskeeper.  Unlike the popular dancing groundscrew, the Ray’s present just one dance who “looses” himself in the moment and breaks into dance.  It’s a fun and convincing turn.  Since it’s a little easier to find one dancer who can rake than it is to find 6 rakers who can dance together the dancing is also a little more engaging.

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Best Team Introductions:

Which team introduction is the best produced, executed, fresh and innovative. Consider creativity, value to fans, execution, quality of presentation, fan interaction and attention to detail. We level the playing field by considering budget constraints to minor league teams. The category will consider focus primarily on the standard introduction (opening night variations will be considered, but the focus is on the standard game production).

Winner: Portland Trailblazers

Honorable Mention: Miami Heat

Honorable Mention:Montreal Canadians

An interesting ballot this year.  Portland and Miami received the same number of first place votes, but Portland edged Miami for the award because Miami also generated the most negative comments.  It seems either people loved Miami or strongly disliked it. 

What stood out for Miami was their non-traditional treatment of the moment.  In lieu of more pyro, louder music and more hype they let their new trio of stars carry the moment.  What they did, they did in a polished and well produced manner...however the end result wasn’t everyone’s taste. 

Portland built upon their tradition of introducing players from the stands and added a huge kabuki drop projection screen.  The video, drop, music prompt and player entrance combined a sense of community, technology, and fan interaction to create spectacle and energy.

The Canadians also received strong praise for overall presentation which links their strong heritage to their current product.

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