Best of 2019

The Best of 2019 Awards complete with seven categories. Congrats to all our winners.

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: Mascot Band

The Reading Fightin’ Phils Mascot Band is the world’s furriest Rock ‘n’ Roll band. Every Saturday night they rock the Weston Center Winning Smiles Stage Baseballtown.  The band includes Quack, Blooper, Bucky, Change-Up and Screwball. As one industry expert noted “Middle-aged men in mascot costumes banging out garage rock covers of classic rock standards. What’s not to love?”  Indeed.

The band is in their 19th year performing in Reading as part of their big in-house entertainment package. Their pre-game set played behind the first base seating area is a popular draw for fans and the music is not a furry joke…these guys really rock.

In a testament to their success, they now have been emulated in Portland (Maine) where the Sea Dogs started a similar concept this year with a group of team-rejected mascots who play in a band called the Kastaways so there is soon to be competition in the space.

Honorable Mention: Memphis Grizzlies Grannies and Gramps

Under the direction of Terran Gary the Grizzlies Grannies and Grandpas perform at select Grizzlies games.  The team is made up of performers over-50 who are out to show there is still plenty of time left on their shot clocks.

The team has proven to be fan favorites and open to dancing to classics and the newest pop hits. They come from all over Memphis with a wide range of backgrounds and talents. One was a professional dancer who toured with Diana Ross and Donna Summer. The choreographer noted he looks for talent in all forms, noting great dancers who hit all the marks are great … but you also need some who might make a mistake or two and “look adorable” in the process.

The team also has a sense of humor, here shown serenading NBA elder Vince Carter on his birthday.

As one panelist explained “This team subverts the typical of a dance team in a really fun and positive way.”

Mission accomplished in Memphis.

Category Winners:

Listen to the Best of 2019 Audio Round Table discussing all the categories and winners with out panel of Jon Cudo, Amanda Greco, Pat Walker and Benjamin Hill. – December 2019 Party in the Back Podcast

Best Game Night Promotion:

What single game or series promotion was most effective and creative, serving as a tool for teams to entertain and draw more fans. Consider creativity, entertainment value, media exposure, drawing power, and execution of the operations. We also level the playing field by considering budget constraints to minor league teams. A promotion with the ability to positively affect the entire fan experience by touching multiple areas of marketing and presentation. For example: A Military Appreciation Night which positively pays tribute to the military with a camouflage hat giveaway, military ticket discount, use of military families for in-game promotions, video package of players speaking to their appreciation for military families, and a surprise reunion of a soldier and their family.

Winner: Helen McGuckin Night (Charleston Riverdogs)

In 2018 the Charleston Riverdogs created a memorable experience for fans with their Joseph P. Reilly and the Amazing Technicolor Ballpark Promotion (often called “Color Night”) to win Best Promotion. In 2019 they took a wild swing with another unique concept called Helen McGuckin Night.

When a woman named Helen McGuckin drove past the stadium and gave the team 2 stars on a Google Review she had no idea the fun that would ensue.  In reaction to this rating the Riverdogs set out to find Helen and impress her enough to change her rating. They located her and built an entire night of fun around trying to change her mind and give the team a 5-star rating.

The nation-wide search for Helen started the chain of national media attention and fun.  In the end, Helen opted not to be a part of the evening but that didn’t stop the team. The Riverdogs had a stand-in Helen who was wined-and-dined for the night in what an objective observer could only call a 5-star promotion.

Panelists loved this folly noting it was “original, random, perfectly minor league baseball”.

Honorable Mention: Florida Man Night

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp embraced the quirky and hilarious legal jeopardy of the Florida Man with a night honoring the weird history of locals getting into strange trouble. Sponsored by a law firm the team broke laws every inning and even found and corralled the famous Florida Man who stood up to a Hurricane and brought him to the game. Epic Floridian Fun.

Category Winners:

  • Best of 2021 – Hershey Bears COVID Teddy Bear Toss
  • Best of 2020 – Hershey Bears Teddy Bear Toss
  • Best of 2019 – Helen McGuckin Night (Charleston Riverdogs)
  • Best of 2018 – Joseph P. Reilly and the Amazing Technicolor Ballpark – Charleston Riverdogs
  • Best of 2017 – Total Eclipse Game and Bob Ross Night
  • Best of 2016 – Purple Game, Purple Game
  • Best of 2015 – Swipe Right Night – Atlanta Hawks
  • Best of 2014 – Seinfeld Night – Brooklyn Cyclones
  • Best of 2013 – Star Wars Night – Toledo Walleye
  • Best of 2012 – Silent Night at Taylor University
  • Best of 2011 – Boston Bruins Military Appreciation Night
  • Best of 2010 – Salute to Bubblewrap (Lowell Spinners)
  • Best of 2009 – LeBron’s Powder Toss Night (Cleveland Cavaliers) and What Could Have Been Night (Bowling Green Hot Rods)
  • Best of 2008 – World’s Largest Pillow Fight (Kane County Cougars) and Fan Bailout Plans (St. Louis Blues)
  • Best of 2007 – Bob L. Head Bobblehead Giveaway (Portland Beavers)/150 years of Toilet Paper (Pensacola Pelicans)
  • Best of 2006 – Brazilian Carnival (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Best of 2005 – Michael Jackson Tribute (Lake Elsinore Storm)
  • Best of 2004 – Mullet Night (Manchester Monarchs)
  • Best of 2003 – Awful Night (Altoona Curve)
  • Best of 2002 – Hawks Playoff Guarantee (Atlanta Hawks)
  • Best of 2001 – Red, White & Blue Out 9/11 Tribute (Texas A & M)

Listen to the Best of 2019 Audio Round Table discussing all the categories and winners with out panel of Jon Cudo, Amanda Greco, Pat Walker and Benjamin Hill. – December 2019 Party in the Back Podcast

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