Live Racing
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No other game operations inventory has captured the public's imagination in the last 10 years the way live costume races have. Many of these races have become the signature game element for teams, like the Sausage Race in Milwaukee and the President's Race in Washington DC. These popular races have been highlighted on ESPN, won industry awards, and spawned parodies, spin-offs, and even dedicated blogs.

Game elements at their best entertain, connect fans to a sponsor, and generate fan interest. More than any other game element, Live Costume Races have connected those three goals for many teams. This month we look at Live Costume Races, talk to team executives, examine what makes them so successful, and (of course) provide dozens of videos to races across sports.

These races can be traced back to the early 1990's, and many like the Tampa Bay Ray's Pepsi Bottle Races were formerly computer-animated scoreboard races. Those animated scoreboard races go back. The Sausages in Milwaukee were one of the first to gain attention, and the earliest record of a live sausage race took place on Sunday, May 29, 1994. The race had begun as a routine sausage race on the old off-black and off-white replay board at County Stadium until the sausages appeared in live form for the first time from the left field fence and raced to what would become a legendary Milwaukee Brewers tradition. Milwaukee VP Laurel Preib said the team started the live racers as a lark, sidestepping any credit for the current wide-spread appeal of the race.

Milwaukee was an early creative force in the race and is one of the better examples of how the race can be tied to local traditions and heritage, like bratwurst and sausages in Milwaukee, as well as how the team uses the racing wursts as sponsor inventory with it's partnership with Klement's. The team sausage creation has spun off to sausage bobbleheads, t-shirts, dolls and a 5K Sausage Race. This years race is already sold out with 3,000 runners.

Here's a look at the Racing Sausages in Milwaukee:

The popularity of these races seems to be spreading, which makes sense because there are so many benefits to the races and by their nature they typically are indigenous twists on the hometown. This makes most of these races fresh and interesting, even if they are a derivative of one of these earlier versions.

This month we span the country to get the full story on the races, using well-known races like the Sausage Racer along with less famous versions from around sports to look at all of these angles:

  • Indigenous Nature Keeps it Fresh
  • Sponsor Value
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Scoring the Races
  • Costumers
  • Who Races?
  • Non-Baseball Races
  • Is the Race Scripted?
  • Best of Awards
  • Other News and Stories
  • Condiment Sprint and Related Items
  • Bonus Links and Amazing Videos
PREMIUM CONTENT: We look at all of these aspects with five more pages of content, insight, videos, photos and links.  Get the full story on Live Races which have become one of the most emulated in-game entertainment pieces in sports in this Premium Content.

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