Best of 2021 (Page 2)

The Best of 2021 Awards. COVID changed the way teams present game entertainment and these winners have adjusted and excelled.

Best Contest or On-field Promotion:

What promotion or contest is the most entertaining. For example, a “Chuck-a-puck” contest. This is a repeatable on-field or video promotion held in-game. Consider entertainment value, creativity, local connections, sponsorship possibilities, cost, and repeat-ability.

Winner: Beat the Freeze

“The Beat the Freeze is just the most perfect promotion,” raved one panelist. “Every race is unique, you never know what will happen. It has excitement, intrigue, leaves everyone in the stands thinking that they could do it.”

For the fourth time in five years the Atlanta Braves’ superhero The Freeze raced past the competition to win the best contest of the year. A fan who beats the masked sprinter Nigel Talton may win $100 gift card, but it is Braves’ fans who always win seeing this spectacle race on the warning track.

The Freeze is even taking on runners when the Braves aren’t playing, like this news-making segment with former NFL receiver Chad Ochocinco.

The Freeze just keeps on winning.

Category Winners:

Listen to the Best of 2021 Audio Round Table discussing all the categories and winners with out panel of Jon Cudo, Amanda Greco, Chris Grosse and Benjamin Hill. – December 2021 Party in the Back Podcast

Also on

See The Store at where we have many turn-key sponsor-friendly promotions and game entertainment resources available, like Build-a-Burger, Parachute Drops, Chuck-a-Puck and the World’s Largest Cornhole Game.

Best Mascot:

A mascot whose work was creative and enthusiastic, serving as a valuable tool for their team and in their community. Consider ability to engage and entertain fans, create fresh innovative content, and create a multidimensional character who is effective in-game, in-community, online, and through social media. All sports team characters and college mascots are eligible.

Winner: Gritty

One Hockey Team Executive raved “Gritty is just without peers right now in terms of mascot performance, presence, and following. The King of Social Media.”

Gritty is indeed everywhere and his star hasn’t faded since he launched in 2018.  Instant meme, leftist avatar and the soul of Philadelphia this orange nightmare is the mascot you never knew you needed.

The team has done an excellent job keeping Gritty at the center of its in-arena show and Gritty’s work on social media is unmatched. One industry journalist called Gritty “A near perfect mascot in the social-media age.”

He has his own 5k Race, is a featured attraction for affiliate nights and has taken over as the mascot world’s most notable cake tosser on his way to being named the Best Mascot of 2021.

Honorable Mention: Tommy Hawk (Chicago Blackhawks) and Slugger the SeaDog (Portland SeaDogs)

Tommy Hawk (Chicago Blackhawks)

Tommy Hawk used the COVID-era to create a pre-game ritual with Hawks star Patrick Kane.  His on-going quest to catch a puck in his second-deck perch became an episodic hit on social media, culminating with him eventually snaring a puck in this celebrated moment.  Tommy also was one half of the big Chicago Mascot Swap that benefited both teams and showcased his two-sport chops.

Slugger the SeaDog (Portland SeaDogs)

Several panelists noted Slugger the SeaDog’s charm and active social media efforts.  The MILB standout gets the most out of his skit work by posting the hits and misses. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” noted a panelist who admired Sluggers willingness to put himself out there.  Fans embrace the journey and his lovable antics are all part of his award-winning persona.

Category Winners:

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