Best Team Operations:
Which team is doing the best job in their game operations and game presentation. We level the playing field by considering budget constraints to minor league teams. Consider creativity, value to fans, overcoming sport and budget limitations, quality of presentation, and attention to detail.
Winners: Hartford Yard Goats and LAFC
The Hartford Yard Goats continue to shine with creative promotions and playful fun, winning both with fans and positive PR. The team is at or near capacity every night. This year the team the team drew its one millionth fan, which of course they touted and celebrated with promotional flurry.
The Hartford Yard Goats welcomed its one millionth fan to Dunkin’ Donuts Park tonight. Chris Bruff became the one millionth fan and will receive free Dunkin’ for an entire year and was given a Yard Goats jersey and cap and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Yard Goats became the quickest Minor League Baseball Club in New England to attract one million fans in just two and a half seasons of playing at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in downtown Hartford.
Promotional nights includes standards like Star Wars Weekend, Military Appreciation Night and Strike Out Cancer along with local twists like Whaler Alumni Weekend and honoring local hero Roberto Clemente.
The Yard Goats were renamed for several games including playing as the Hartford Steamed Cheeseburgers, Los Chivos de Hartford and Hartford River Hogs. An exhaustive list of giveaways included a Los Hivos Goat Bobblehead, mini Hockey stick, challenge coins and a strong collection of hat wear.
Note: Be sure to listen to the Audio Roundtable covering the Best of 2019 where Ben Hill gives a tour de force background on what the Yard Goats have overcome on their way to winning in 2019.
LAFC (Los Angels Football Club) joins the Yard Goats as 2019 Winners, becoming the first MLS team to win the honor. The team has built their show around fan experience, like many MLS teams. Creating a culture where fans dictate (and often become) the show. One element the team is known for is their Falcom program in which three live falcons participate in various game-day and community events. One falcon is released pre-game by an honorary falconer (usually a celebrity or community figure) and it flies around the stadium.
Here is a great fan-created video showcasing the fan experience that gives a first-hand account of the LAFC experience. It’s over 4 mins long, but really puts you in the middle of what it is like to experience the team.
Lots of great team efforts in this always interesting category. Also receiving votes this year were Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Toronto Raptors, Charleston Riverdogs, Saint Paul Saints, Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Bucks, Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators, and Brooklyn Cyclones.
- Best of 2018 – Vegas Golden Knights
- Best of 2017 – Nashville Predators and Hartford Yard Goats
- Best of 2016 – Saint Paul Saints and Fresno Grizzlies
- Best of 2015 – Minnesota Timberwolves and Brooklyn Cyclones
- Best of 2014 – Memphis Grizzlies, Durham Bulls, Milwaukee Admirals
- Best of 2013 – Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Portland Timbers, Grand Rapids Griffins and Minnesota Timberwolves
- Best of 2012 – Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
- Best of 2011 – Colorado Eagles
- Best of 2010 – Leigh Valley Iron Pigs
- Best of 2009 – Fresno Grizzlies
- Best of 2008 – Fresno Grizzlies/Columbus Blue Jackets
- Best of 2007 – New Orleans Hornets
- Best of 2006 – Miami Heat
- Best of 2005 – Lakewood Blue Claws
- Best of 2004 – Pittsburgh Pirates/Atlanta Thrashers
- Best of 2003 – Dayton Dragons
- Best of 2002 – Saint Paul Saints
- Best of 2001 – Houston Comets
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
Congratulations to the Best of 2019
Since 2007 the Best of Gameops.com award winners will receive The Golden Steagle™ Bobblehead trophy to commemorate their award. You can get the full history of the award on the Best of Awards page, including video from The Colbert Report where Stephen Colbert proclaims that receiving a Gameops.com award is “the Big Time.”
Winners may use the “Best of 2019” logo and “The Golden Steagle™” award designation in there promotional material or web site.
Winners will receive an award and letter from Gameops.com. If you receive any publicity or post the award announcement on your website, please let us know.
Thanks to our panel for helping sort through all the great submissions and for sharing their time and insight.