Who are the Durham Bulls?
The Durham Bulls are a Minor-League baseball team and Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays that call Durham, North Carolina home. Founded in 1902, the team will be celebrating its 115th birthday this year! The 2017 season is scheduled to open a 71-game home slate on Monday, April 10th with a total count of 142 games beginning on Thursday, April 6th. The Bulls are a staple sports attraction within the Triangle Area and bring in people of all shapes and sizes.
What is our situation?
Since 2005, the Bulls have managed to maintain an average turnout in the DBAP of at least 65%. Although numbers had been decreasing from 2007, in 2009 the team won the National Championships and the total number of attendees went from 488,385 that year to 500,073 in 2010. Unfortunately, in the years to follow, the Bulls did not reach numbers above 500,000 until after they won the championship once more in 2013, seeing a substantial 33% increase in 2014 from the previous year and reaching a record for total turnout. In 2015, attendance reached an unprecedented 554,788 people in total. Even though there was a decrease in 2016, it was by less than 10,000, showing a newfound fan loyalty, but setting up for another decrease trend. After conducting a thorough situational analysis for the team’s 115th birthday in the 2017 season, the organization feels that in order to maintain and increase loyalty in as well as expand the number of its fan base, a freshly-innovated promotional plan is in order.
What is our main objective?
Achieve an unprecedented game average of at least 8,000 attendees for the 2017 home slate in addition to increasing the brand loyalty of the Durham Bulls and expanding the customer base throughout the Triangle area.
1. Strengthen relations with the Triangle area community by increasing outreach to local schools, organizations, and businesses.
2. Increase customer satisfaction and turnout by reimbursing our fans through giveaways, special events and sales on merchandise and concessions.
3. Use advertising campaigns to promote awareness of the team and special events, etc. to the Triangle area via methods such as social media and television commercials.
College Baseball Night
Scheduled for three nights for each major college baseball team throughout the season, the DBAP will host a pre-game event in which players from NC State, Duke and UNC will be available for a special meet and greet with fans. This will give attendees the chance to meet potential future Bulls players and get merchandise and posters, etc. signed. Not only will this draw in existing Bulls fans, but in addition, it will entice fans of these three schools to attend the game as well.
Bull Durham Film Night
Although the Durham Bulls will be playing at the Toledo Mud Hens June 17th, the DBAP will still be up and running! At 7:00 PM, the DBAP will be hosting a free screening of Bull Durham, the 80’s movie set around our very own Durham Bulls baseball team right on the field itself! Using the large screens against the walls of the outfield, our fans will be invited to bring themselves and fans to set up on the field or in the stands and enjoy a great film. Once it has ended, there will be a firework display over the stadium. Hosting this event will draw in a large number of fans due to free admission and provide incentive to attend more events and games. Concessions will be provided at normal prices.
Saturday Night Spectacular
Beginning on April 15th, every Saturday home game will be known as a “Saturday Night Spectacular.” These nights will consist of Pregame Activities, a merchandise giveaway, and a sales promotion within the concessions stands. These nights will consist of Pregame Activities, a merchandise giveaway, and a sales promotion within the merchandise stores or concessions stands.
- Pregame Activities: Before each game, the DBAP will invite fans to participate in family-friendly activities, which will vary each night. The jungle gym will be open to the children, free of charge, and catered food from local restaurants will be available for purchase. Local bands will be invited to play a set while our fans enjoy great food and fun times.
• Giveaway: Each Saturday game will alternate the type of free merchandise given out. One option will be g with a free limited-edition 115th Anniversary t-shirt. The first 1000 fans on shirt nights will receive a t-shirt and a coupon for 20% off in the merchandise stores in the stadium. On hat and sweatshirt nights, the first 200 fans will receive a hat or sweatshirt and a coupon for 20% off merchandise in the stadium. Options will include hats, t-shirts or sweatshirts featuring the 115th Anniversary logo.
• Sales Promotion: Every Saturday Night Spectacular will be selling limited-edition 115th anniversary drink cups, each of which will come with free refills of the drink of your choice. In addition to this, there will be a rotating sale of “Buy One, Get One Free” or 50% off of select concessions available. This will include the catered carts, such as Rita’s Ice.
The Durham Bulls will be implementing a special 115th Anniversary advertising campaign for the 2017 season to establish an even larger online presence and attract more fans. Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat will be used to reach out to existing fans and attract new ones, as well as advertise our special events and promotions.
- Facebook: game updates, information on special events, answer fan questions
- Twitter: retweet fans with #115th and #DBulls, varying twitter contests to win various 115th Anniversary Edition Nike Apparel, twitter contests to win free tickets to a Saturday Night Spectacular
- Snapchat: game picture and video updates, player interviews, send direct snaps to fans, showcase the huge amount of fun games are via the story feature
In addition to these new social media initiatives, we will be advertising the 115th Anniversary of the Durham Bulls Baseball Team on billboards throughout the Triangle. The area has a huge roadway system through which most employed residents use for work commute. Purchasing billboards will incite even more awareness and interest of the team due to them being visible to all who pass by.
Various restaurants and throughout Downtown Raleigh and Durham will display signs, pictures and information within their establishments to increase awareness. In turn, they will be featured in our game pamphlets. These will include, but not be limited to, places such as Mellow Mushroom or Bad Daddy’s Burgers. Placing displays in popular family-oriented establishments will raise awareness of the special season and gather more fans.
- Duke and UNC Children's Hospital Volunteering - The Durham Bulls will host two volunteering events in which players and fans visit the children’s hospital at Duke and UNC, meeting and keeping company with the patients. This will allow fans to interact with the team on a personal level and give back to the community. A fundraiser through concessions and merchandise sales at DBAP during a game closest to each event to raise money for the hospitals.
- Press Access - Local press will be allotted an abundant amount of access to the Durham Bulls team and events, encouraging more media coverage throughout the triangle area.
- Player Meet and Greet - Three pre-game player meet-and-greets will be hosted throughout the season to allow fans to meet and speak with the Bulls. The players will sign posters, apparel, etc. and converse with the fans in an attempt to allow them to connect with the team. This will incentivize potential and existing fans to attend these games.
Due to it being the 115th Anniversary of the Durham Bulls, we have an addition to our budget to accommodate these special events. Many of these costs will be covered with help from our generous sponsors. Billboard Advertisements will be $64,000, Merchandise/Giveaways will be $67,7350, and Graphic Design for our Anniversary Logo will be $460. The 115th Anniversary merchandise to be sold in the shop will cover it's own costs due to profit from selling.
Statement of Benefits to the Organization
In implementing this promotional plan for the 2017 season, the Durham Bulls will reach an unprecedented average game attendance of at least 8,000 fans and a total attendance of at least 580,000 fans. The special events and promotions within our merchandise and concessions will increase the satisfaction of our fans and incentivize them to attend more games. Our social media campaigns will emphasize the 115th anniversary of the Bulls and give fans the opportunity to interact and develop a more personal connection with the team. In addition to these benefits, the success of this year will lead to increasing popularity for the next season and set the Durham Bulls up for fan and financial growth in the years to come.