MLB Players Association summer hobby shop promotion, dubbed the Big League Blast, concluded in August, reportedly with solid results from the 250 hobby shops that participated in the four-month promotion.
During the promotion’s run, customers who visited participating hobby shops and purchased a pack of any Topps or Upper Deck baseball product received a ticket for an entry into a monthly drawing, with prizes ranging from Majestic baseball jerseys to autographed photos and other licensed products.
“The idea for the promotion came from a New York Times article I read late last year when the economy softened talking about the need for small specialty retailers to create events to bring people into their stores and give them a reason to shop. That really applied to my hobby shops,” said the MLBPA’s Evan Kaplan about how the program got started. “We’re able to tap into a lot of our product credits and build a nice prize pool. But we also wanted to build awareness for the new releases, so we were able to accomplish that.”
Hobby shops got a big boost from the promotion as well, as evidenced by the outpouring of positive comments from dealers who e-mailed Kaplan during and after the promotion’s run. Here’s an example: “We had so many people in here for this drawing there was barely enough room to move around in the store. We sold out completely of all featured product and most of everything else we had in baseball,” said Dale and Matt from Mr. Dale’s Tradin’ Card LLC.
There were dozens more just like it, which is nice to hear when so much of the hobby news tends to be on the negative side.
Kaplan also shed a little light on the Baseball Card Clubhouse program the MLBPA conducts with stores aimed at Boy Scout troops and other youth organizations. He said more than 500 stores are currently participating with more signing up all of the time. This will continue well into 2010, with new ideas currently in development.
“The feedback has been phenomenal, but the best feedback is when the kids come back after the initial seminar and become regular customers,” Kaplan said.
You always hear in this hobby about how youth need to be a focal point. Well, here are two programs that are actually working. I plan on getting regular updates on these promotions and will fill you in on the details.