Of course, we all love the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” singing and swaying arm in arm that is the ritual of the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. So, after the not so shocking popularity plunge of the losing 2012 season, (at the dismal end, tickets could be had for under a dollar) the Cubs are scrambling to reinvent their game. So, after holding many meetings. and forming committees in order to come up with some light bulb moments, they had an idea.
Question: What have their marketing gurus come up with?
Answer: Ta-daaa... They are raising the bar for their guest singers. Apparently now, no fake, non- Cub fans will be allowed to sing, no matter what their box office draw is. Or something profound like that.
As one half of a couple who have logged a lot of game time at Wrigley through the years – in order to get some valuable feedback on this new twist from a diehard fan, I didn’t have to go far.
“Honey,” I ask my Sports Guy, “if the guest singer – you know – whoever the Cubs have sing during the seventh inning stretch was a certified “passed a quiz” Cubs fan, instead of just any random celeb or B-lister that just happened to score a spot in the booth – would you go to more games, maybe even pay more for a ticket?”
He looks up briefly from an online sports site, and answers with a definitely very firm “Nope, the only requirement should be is that they know the words."
Of course, he is so right on. How many times have we had to painfully endure someone literally slaughtering the lyrics to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" for God's sake.
There you have it. Enough said. Nobody really cares who is singing it - just know the words. Market research in a nutshell.
So, if the “guest singer revamping” isn’t the answer to increased fan excitement – what is?
Apparently, I will have to take on the role of the self-appointed (unpaid) marketing consultant to the Cubs. I have done my homework and here are my findings and recommendations:
First, let’s look at the competition, what other stadiums are doing and see if we can copycat any of it.
At AT&T Park in San Francisco, you can rent a kayak and paddle around in the bay, hoping to scoop up a home run “splash down” ball.
At Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City you will find a fountain and water show spectacular.
At Chase Stadium in Phoenix, you can rent a swimming pool for you and 34 guests.
Home Run Celebratory Gimmicks: When their teams hit a home run this is what happens…
At Minute Maid Park in Houston, a giant locomotive filled with giant oranges chugs along an exterior wall track
At Target Field in Minnesota, “Minnie and Paul” figures light up and shake hands
At Citi Field in New York, a giant red “Big Apple” pops up
At Citizen’s Bank Field in Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell (with crack) turns neon and chimes
At Miller Park in Milwaukee, their mustached mascot, Bernie, takes off down a winding yellow slide
At Tropicana Field in Florida, there is a “touch tank” where Rays fans can touch actual sea rays (fish)
So, the above is an idea of some unique things that are going on at baseball venues around the country. And, I might add….someone was paid big bucks to come up with these ideas. ( Again, I am offering an absolutely free consultation.)
All things considered, the Ricketts should not be in any panic whatsoever. Wrigley has had a lot going for it for 100 plus years.
In addition to our Lovable Losers, we have the Ivy Wall, the Scoreboard, the Rooftops, the Neighborhood and more. It’s already an awesome experience. So, listen to me (no charge) and we’ll just kick it up a notch.
That being said, here are my assessments and recommendations:
A) No room for elaborate fountains, kayaks are out for obvious reasons, and no pools or hot tubs (bacteria hazards)
Allow bathing suits (no thongs) to be worn in the Bleachers. You have full sun there (if there is sun). Why not? Brilliant idea. (No charge, by the way.)
B) Home Run Options: the Cubs definitely need something fun to happen when we hit a home run.
Suggestions: Maybe something to do with Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, or the ghost of Harry Caray, or some giant wind machines creating tornado-like gusts throughout the stadium (The Windy City)
Note: I could spend more time on this, but time is money and this is free advice.
C) Bring back The Wave – thought I would throw in a no cost option
D) Thought about bringing in some real cubbies (from Lincoln Park Zoo, just down the street), but forget it– that might bring in more kids and they are too annoying
E) This is the Money Maker (I should charge for this brainstorm, but I won’t):
Think about this…Beer is your real cash cow, so let’s not mess with that. However, I think that there is a sizeable percentage of a certain demographic group – I’m thinking females over 40 – that would really enjoy a nice glass of wine, especially at a night game.
Now, I know that you do sell wine and other cocktails – but I am guessing not a lot. Let’s face it, Beer and Baseball are synonymous. Let’s change that.
Let’s put wine vendors in the stands. Just like Budweiser and Old Style compete to be the brands that the Cubs are selling, the vineyards of Napa would love to have some guy hawking…”Sutter Home, get your Sutter Home here…red and white…Sutter Home.” (A better label would be nice - but we can work towards that later.)
I don’t think that this would fly too well with Sox fans, but for the North Siders, there is definitely a market. I will be an eager contributor.
Very excited about this last proposal, and confident that the Cubs will act on this... I yell to My Guy in the other room. “Guess what... they might start selling wine in the stands at Wrigley Field!”
“Good,” he yells back. “Then I won’t have to smuggle those little plastic bottles of chardonnay in for you anymore.” He is just kidding, of course, I swear.
So, Cubs, that's all I've got for now. No charge, of course.
Does anyone have any other ideas? Scroll down and leave a comment. Be realistic now. I don't think that they will let you bring your dog. Remember the banned goat? Seriously, let's help them out here. No charge.