Results tagged ‘ Jim Bathey ’
I’ve just returned from Oklahoma City, site of the 2012 National Sports Forum and my suitcase is a bit heavier…. That’s because I’m carrying back this: The 2012 National Sports Forum ADchievement Overall Award of Excellence!
The National Sports Forum is the largest annual cross gathering of the top sports marketing, sales, promotions and event entertainment executives from throughout the broad spectrum of teams and leagues, (i.e. NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, Minor Leagues, Racing, Colleges, etc.), in North America.
It was wonderful that several people from our staff were able to attend this conference this year, as it is so energizing to be around your peers in the industry, discussing challenges, exchanging new ideas and learning best practices. There are sessions on everything from Sponsorship and Ticket Sales to Management and Marketing and this year, I even had the chance to lead my own breakout session on creativity and new media, which was a great opportunity.
In conjunction with the conference, the Forum also hosts the National ADChievement Awards, an advertising competition for sports-related campaigns and collateral. Well, this year, we submitted several of our campaigns and pieces and I’m proud to say that our team was recognized as the recipient of this year’s Overall Award of Excellence.
Both our internal creative team (comprised of VP of Consumer Marketing, Jim Bathey; Senior Director of Marketing, Kathy Schwab; Senior Graphic Designer, Jeff Harding, Graphic Designer, Molly Arndt; and myself), and our external agency partner, 2-Story Creative, worked together to strategize and develop the items that were recognized with this award.
It was an honor just to be chosen as a finalist for this award, as the field for this year’s Overall Award of Excellence included some pretty stiff competition in the Greenville Drive (winner of the award the past two years in a row), Houston Texans, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Speaking from personal experience, I know how much hard work goes into everything we do during the season, so it was so wonderful to be recognized in front of our peers with this award.
I’d just like to use this opportunity to say how proud I am of our team and how much I enjoy working with everyone each day. I’m truly honored to be surrounded by people who strive for excellence in all that they do.
It’s the time of year where everyone posts and comments on “End of the Year Lists.” From the top movies, music, and books of the year to the top restaurants, people and cars–it seems like there is a list for everything. Well, John and Cait will not let you down, as we have compiled a list of our Top Ten Brewers Moments from what was a very memorable and historic season.
We worked together on this list. Some comments are from Cait and other are from John. Some moments were John’s and others were Cait’s. You might agree with some and disagree with others, as all ten moments will surely be up for debate. You can share with us your top ten Brewers moments from 2011 through the comments section at the bottom of this post.
#10 – Late Night at Miller Park, Brewers vs. Rockies, May 20
Were you one of the 33,361 on hand to witness the Brewers vs. Rockies game as it kicked off at 7:10pm on a warm Friday evening in May at Miller Park? Maybe the better question is: were you still remaining 4 hours and 35 minutes later when Prince Fielder hit his 2-run walk-off blast in the bottom of the 14th? This memorable game featured a volley of scoring. Brewers led 1-0 after 1. Rockies led 2-1 after 3. Brewers tied it 2-2 in the 4th. Colorado took the lead 3-2 in the 5th and tacked on another run in the 6th, before the Brewers brought it back to 4-3 in the bottom of that inning. A homer by Casey McGehee tied the game 4-4 in the 8th. The game went into extras and there was no more scoring until the Rockies took the lead in the 13th, 5-4. The Crew answered with a towering blast by Yuniesky Betancourt and it was back to even. The Rockies scratched their way back on top, 6-5 in the 14th, but then Fielder hit his booming 2-run, 422-footer to right and rewarded those Brewers fans who had stuck it out to the end by sending them home happy.
#9 – Brewers Fans Rock the Vote; Fielder Blast Rocks the AL in 2011 All-Star Game at Chase Field
For the first time in our 43-year history, three players, a homegrown trio–Ryan Braun (first-round Draft pick in 2005), Prince Fielder (first-round Draft pick in 2002) and Rickie Weeks (first-round Draft pick in 2003)–were elected to start the All-Star Game, making the Crew the only NL team with multiple starters.
Braun was elected for his fourth straight All-Star start, leading NL outfielders in balloting for the fourth straight season, and this time leading all NL players in votes. Fielder, a three-time All-Star, was elected to his second start and Weeks was elected to his very first All-Star Game.
Although Braun did not end up playing in the 2011 All-Star Game due to a calf strain, this was still a memorable achievement for the Crew and the Brewers fans whose voting paid off!
More memories and history were also made at the actual game itself as Fielder’s three-run home run in the fourth inning at Chase Field gave the National League the lead in the game and contributed in a big way to its 5-1 victory over the American League.
With that blast, Fielder became the first player in Brewers history to hit a home run in the All-Star Game and after the game, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the All-Star Game, another first for our franchise.
#8 – Crew Turns Triple Play, Brewers vs. Dodgers, August 15
On Monday, August 15, four Brewers defenders combined on the sixth triple play in franchise history, a sensational play that bailed starter Randy Wolf out of a two-on, no-out jam in the second inning and aided in their 3-0 win over the Dodgers at Miller Park. The 4-6-3-2 triple play went like this: With Dodgers at first and second and nobody out in a scoreless game, James Loney hit a grounder up the middle. Josh Wilson ranged to his right, gobbled up the baseball and flipped it with his glove to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for the first out. Betancourt threw to Prince Fielder at first for out No. 2, and Fielder, seeing Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp trying to sneak home, fired to catcher George Kottaras for the inning-ending tag.
In other news, the Crew also turned four double plays in this defensive clinic of a game.
#7 – Doug Melvin Named Baseball America’s Executive of the Year
Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin was awarded the Baseball America Executive of the Year award for 2011. Melvin and his staff worked hard to put a winner on the field and the bold moves that were made helped the Brewers to a National League Central Division Championship.
As anyone who works for Melvin would say, he is a treat. Very knowledgeable about the game and its many intricacies, Melvin is also a very kind and caring person. His success is well-deserved!
#6 – Ryan Braun Signs Contract Extension, April 21
On Thursday, April 21, Ryan Braun signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension adding to a seven-year deal he signed in May 2008, meaning that Braun will be a part of the Brewers franchise through 2020.
“I’m proud to be a Milwaukee Brewer, I really am,” Braun said on that historic day. “I’m going to be for the next 10 years. It’s an exciting day for me, my family, the organization. It’s like being part of a family.
“It’s truly special to me to come to work here every day, and I’m excited about being able to do that for the next 10 years. Thanks to the fans – that was the single biggest reason I wanted to stay here. To be in one of the smallest media markets in baseball and to have 3 million people to come watch us every year is incredibly special.
“The more time we spend in other cities, the more we recognize how special it is here. The fans are the single biggest factor. I’m excited, man, truly excited to be able to say I’m a Milwaukee Brewer from this point forward.”
Having Braun want to be the cornerstone of the Brewers franchise is a treat for Brewers fans. He truly enjoys playing here in Milwaukee and the fans will look forward to his play for many years to come.
#5 – Muhammad Ali Visits Brewers Spring Training Camp
This was a very special moment for the team at Spring Training. It was so neat to see the look in the eyes of Brewers players when Muhammad Ali entered the clubhouse. Being in the presence of such a powerful figure was inspiring to many of the players and staff members on hand that day. Although his health isn’t 100%, it was still amazing to see Ali in person, making for one of the most memorable days of 2011.
#4 – John Visits Fenway Park and Cait Presents/Club Wins SAMMY at the 2011 National Sports Forum
Since each fan has his or her own personal memories of 2011, we figured we should pick a moment that was unique to each of us this year, so here you have them: John’s visit to Fenway and Cait bringing home the SAMMY Award.
John: Prior to June, I had never been to Fenway Park in Boston. I made the weekend trip with the team and it definitely lived up to the hype. I enjoyed how they were able to transform a historic ballpark into the modern era while still keeping much of the historical foundation. I have heard many great stories about Fenway and I certainly was not disappointed. I try to visit one park I have never been to each year and was happy to cross this one off this list. I already have my new park picked out for 2012–Citi Field in New York!
Cait: I knew it was going to be a great year when the winning started in January at the National Sports Forum in Louisville, KY. As a Club, we were a finalist for the SAMMY Award (Sales, Advertising, Marketing or Management Idea of the Year) for a Season Seat Holder renewal campaign that had been particularly successful for us in 2010. Although we had been a finalist for the award for another campaign the previous year but had not won, and although I am not particularly fond of speaking in front of large groups of strangers, I was tasked with presenting our campaign at the conference and this time, we were triumphant. I was very proud to help bring home this award for our talented team.
#3 – Opening Day vs. Atlanta, April 4
Even though the Brewers fell to the Braves on this day, there is always something special about Opening Day. Everyone is excited, optimistic and energetic. Everything around the ballpark is fresh, clean and sparkling. From a working standpoint, there is a lot to get done. The rush up to Opening Day can be quite stressful filling in last minute details, but once the first pitch is thrown, we can relax and enjoy the game!
#2 – Brewers Clinch the NL Central Division, September 23
The Brewers entered the game against the Marlins with a “Magic Number” of 2, meaning they not only needed to win, but also needed St. Louis to lose in order to clinch the division at Miller Park. The game was tied at 1 for much of the game, until Ryan Braun stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Cait: I was on-hand that night to help with a potential streamer launch if we were to win the game and St. Louis was to lose. I remember loading the cannons with the game still tied and making my way to my post, hoping against all hope that I’d get to shoot them that night. But the score of our game was tied and so was the Cubs-Cardinals game. The air was a little tense, and I will never forget leaning over to one of my co-workers and jokingly stage whispering, “Here’s where he hits the home run,” alluding to Ryan Braun’s heroic home run against the Cubs on the last day of the season in 2008 which sent us to the Postseason for then the first time in 26 years. And then he did it. Chills. I still get chills just thinking about it.
John: There was a special feeling in the ballpark that night. You just felt like it was our time to finish this off. Great crowd, Friday night, Yovani on the mound–it was all aligned for things to go our way. The game itself was kind of a blur. I know everyone remembers Braun’s home run, but remember Braun’s diving catch and laser-perfect throw to get Emilio Bonifacio out at first? To me that was the play of the game. It was a fantastic night and one I will never forget.
The Crew went on to win 4-1 on that go-ahead, 3-run home run. Then, as if Braun’s blast wasn’t enough of a sense of déjà vu for the crowd of 44, 584, fans and players had to wait for the Cubs-Cardinals game to end in order to find out if they would clinch the division that night. In an ironic twist of fate, the packed house cheered loudly for the rival Cubs who had hit their own 3-run home run in the 8th and went on to prevail over the Cardinals 5-1 as confetti and streamers finally rained down from the rafters at Miller Park.
#1 – Game 5 of the NLDS, October 7
For those of you who were at Miller Park that Friday evening, you definitely understand why this would be #1. The excitement in the building was more than electric. The crowd was deafening. The sigh of relief let out by Brewers fans could be felt across the nation as Nyjer Morgan drove in Carlos Gomez for the game-winning run, sending the Crew to its first-ever National League Championship Series.
And…there you have it, our favorite moments of 2011. What are yours? Please feel free to debate in the comment field below.
Here’s to many more memorable moments in 2012!
– John and Cait
Earlier this month, John gave you a glimpse into his offseason life and now it’s my turn to give you one into mine.
First of all, I would argue that the offseason is actually a busier time than during the season in my world.
Yes, that’s right—offseason, schmoffseason!
In my role as Senior Manager of Advertising & Marketing, my job responsibilities include: leading and initiating all general market advertising and marketing projects; serving as the internal lead for social media strategy sessions; initiating brainstorming sessions to discuss concepts for upcoming and current Consumer Marketing projects; evaluating and researching new Club opportunities, promotions and marketing initiatives; preparing proposals, drafting contracts and writing sales, marketing and evaluation reports; and of, course, co-authoring this blog!
Our Consumer Marketing Department, headed up by Vice President of Consumer Marketing, Jim Bathey, is comprised of Ticket Sales (Season Tickets, Group Tickets, Suite Sales, and Ticket Operations) and Marketing/Advertising. Under that umbrella, we have an internal creative team, led by my boss, Kathy Schwab, Senior Director of Marketing, that works to produce all of the advertisements and collateral. In sum, the easiest way to tell you what we do is to say that basically anything that you, the consumer, sees has most likely passed our desks in some way, shape, or form.
While I don’t physically design the look (we’ve got Sr. Graphic Designer Jeff Harding and Graphic Designer Molly Arndt to thank for that!), I have a hand in most projects from a creative concepting and copywriting standpoint to scheduling the workflow and making sure our deadlines are met.
Here are just a few of the things that help keep us out of trouble from November through March:
DEPARTMENTAL MEETINGS: Our internal creative team operates like its own creative agency, serving our “clients,” or the other departments within our organization. At the end of the season, we like to sit down with each department individually to discuss their creative needs for the upcoming year so we can begin to think about new ideas, get their projects on a calendar and budget our time accordingly. We meet with everyone from Brewers Enterprises and Community Relations to Accounting and Stadium Operations to make sure that we are ready to help them produce any materials that they might need.
SEASON SEAT HOLDER RENEWAL PACKET: Our first big offseason project is always the Season Seat Holder Renewal Packet. After the season ends, our Season Seat Holders have the first priority to renew their seats for the following season. Putting this packet together means reflecting on the previous season, gathering the new schedule and pricing charts for the upcoming season and updating any new benefit information. Coming off of such a special 2011 Season, we wanted to do something extra special for our Season Seat Holders, so they each received this commemorative 8×10 collage as part of their packet this year:
HOLIDAY 4-PACKS: When the baseball season lasts until nearly Halloween, it’s easy for the rest of the holiday season to sneak up on you. That’s why we have to work ahead in order to be ready to launch our campaign for our ever-popular Holiday 4-Packs. Typically, these packages go on sale about two weeks before Thanksgiving. This year they are available until December 20. Our marketing team works hard to develop a fully-integrated campaign that includes direct mail and print, online, outdoor, radio and TV advertising.
CLUBHOUSE SALE: We’re also charged with advertising our Brewers Clubhouse Sale, which, coincidentally, takes place this Friday and Saturday in the Visitors’ Clubhouse here at Miller Park. You’ll definitely want to check back on Thursday, as John and I are planning on posting our annual Clubhouse Sale Preview!
NEW SEASON TICKET PACKAGES: After renewals and the holiday season, we shift our focus to selling our new season ticket packages. Again, we create advertising campaigns and sales collateral to support these efforts.
BREWERS ON DECK: In January, we’ve got our annual winter fan fest, Brewers On Deck to look forward to. This year, Brewers On Deck takes place on Sunday, January 29 from 10am to 5pm at the Frontier Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. Typically, our department will work on the advertising for this event and our outside agency, 2-Story Creative, steps in to assist with all of the banners, signage and decor for the event itself.
SPRING TRAINING & TV COMMERCIALS: Just when the weather in Wisconsin is at its nastiest, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to hop on a plane to Arizona where we work with the players to gather most of what we’ll need for our 2012 in-season advertising efforts. We try to limit our asks of the players once the season begins so that they can focus their efforts on the field; that means that we capture a lot of images—and shoot our TV commercials (with the help of 2-Story Creative)—before our Spring Training games even begin.
INDIVIDUAL ON-SALE (ARCTIC TAILGATE): We return from sunny Arizona to the Arctic…Tailgate, that is. As you know, the Arctic Tailgate, the date our individual tickets go on sale to the public, usually takes place in February. What does that mean for marketing? We have to produce the advertising around the event and create collateral pieces—the most important being the much-anticipated pocket schedule. Usually by that time of year, we’ll have most of our promotions set in place and then we can print our pocket schedules and get them in the hands, wallets and purses of eagerly-awaiting Brewers fans. For the next six months, that pocket schedule will also inadvertently serve as my day planner.
YOUR TICKETS, PARKING PASSES, ETC.: If you’re a Season Seat Holder, you know that the day your tickets arrive in the mail is a very special day. [I always think of this scene in the movie Fever Pitch and imagine many of our Brewers fans react the same way.] Well, did you ever think of the people behind those tickets? The ones who design them, print them, and make sure that your precise number of tickets with your exact seat location get delivered to you—along with your parking books and/or NYCE Club membership? All of those items in your packet have to be produced and that’s what we spend a lot of time on in February and March, making sure everyone is set for Opening Day.
Which brings us to… the start of the new season!
Eek! We’ve got a ton to accomplish in just 129 days! I better wrap this up.
Birthdays. Retirements. Bachelor/bachelorette parties. Company outings. Family reunions. Youth organizations, day camp and school field trips. Sorority/fraternity outings. Team celebrations. Church group outings. Club gatherings.
Whatever the occasion, Miller Park is the perfect place for your group outing and Brewers Director of Group Sales, Chris Barlow, and his staff are there to ensure that all of the details are handled. Your group just has to show up, enjoy the game and have fun!
As a Wisconsin native who grew up in Oconomowoc and Wauwatosa, Chris has always been a Brewers fan.
“When I was a little kid, if you had told me that when I was a grownup, I would be working for the Brewers for a really good chunk of my life, I would have said I will take it, I wouldn’t have even asked how much it paid,” Chris said.
In fact, Chris remembers his first Brewers game in 1972 when the Crew faced the Red Sox with Luis Tiant on the mound, and his first time at Opening Day in 1980 when Chris’ favorite player at the time, Sixto Lezcano, hit a walk-off grand slam in the ninth to win the game.
Those cherished times spent at County Stadium made Chris realize that he wanted to work in sports in some capacity. A UW-Eau Claire graduate with a degree in broadcast journalism, Chris spent his college years working at WKOW in La Crosse, producing a nightly sports cable TV show, writing for the Eau Claire Leader Telegram and the Spectator.
After graduation and a brief stint working as a reporter for Community Newspapers, Chris took a job with the Brewers as a Telephone Sales Representative (TSR).
Then, when Chris’ boss at the time left to take a position in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, he brought Chris along with him. There, Chris was responsible for helping create a sales force. While Chris enjoyed his time with the Sabres, he still felt that pull to return to his hometown team.
“When they put the shovel in the ground for Miller Park, I called [now VP-Consumer Marketing] Jim Bathey and said,’ Jim I want to come home!”
Jim offered Chris a job and he came back to the Crew in 1997. He’s been working here ever since.
“My original thought, way back when I was a TSR, was that I would get my foot in the door and then move into broadcasting or media relations, but all these years later, here I am, in Group Sales,” Chris said.
But Chris is definitely not unhappy with how his career has panned out. “I found out I was pretty good at it and that I enjoyed it,” he said.
“I love working at Miller Park and it still gives me goose bumps some days when I drive up,” he said.
While Chris’ career has evolved over the years, his current responsibilities include overseeing all of Group Sales, which includes group outings, the All-Inclusive Areas, the party suites and the tailgate facilities.
Chris’ staff includes Maggie Aliota, Group Event Coordinator and Jake Mentch, Group Account Executive, and the three of them are there to assist fans with planning their group outings every step of the way.
“Any group, any size, any event, any budget, and, with our retractable roof, any weather—we’ve got you covered,” Chris said.
And they are always coming up with new ideas to enhance the fan experience.
New for 2011, along with our Bonus Games, Chris and his staff have added Value Games and Super Bonus games, so fans have additional opportunities to save even more. This means that we now offer groups up to 83% savings to over half of our home games. Plus, your group can catch some of the hottest games against the rival Cubs, Cardinals and Twins at non-Marquee prices, exclusively for groups, saving up to 40% off individual ticket prices for select games.
Also new this season, fans have opportunity to purchase individual tickets in some of Miller Park’s All-Inclusive Areas for select dates at a special savings. As the name suggests, these areas are just that—all-inclusive. You get your game ticket, plus premium food and beverage options from your choice of several unique vantage points around the ballpark, such as the AirTran Airways Landing Zone, Gehl Club, Harley-Davidson Deck and Dew Deck. In the past, access to these areas has been limited to those purchasing in large groups, but now, the Group Sales Department is giving fans the chance to bring out smaller groups to sample the area.
Of the All-Inclusive Areas, Chris’ favorite is the Gehl Club, an upscale venue located on the PNC Club Level, down the left-field line.
“It is a great place to view a game from. You might not think that if you just looked at a stadium map, but when you go stand in there, it is stunning. I am a little biased but I think it is one of the best places to watch a game from anywhere in baseball and the food is excellent, too,” Chris said.
Group Cap Days are another new initiative that has added value to the group experience in the last two years. Groups that purchase 25 or more group tickets in select areas on certain dates throughout the season will receive a unique Brewers adjustable cap for everyone in the group. The 2011 Cap Days are May 20, July 8, July 29, August 12, September 9 and September 23.
Another Group Sales offering that fans may not be aware of is the Corporate Savings Program (CSP). Personally, I think it is the best kept secret around here…well, next to the recipe for Secret Stadium Sauce! Basically, all it takes is one main contact at a company or organization to sign up for the program. The Group Sales staff will then send that individual a link to special ticket offers, exclusive to CSP members. The contact only has to post and promote the information and then it allows others within the organization to buy the tickets directly online; there is no money to collect, there are no minimums to meet, and the Group Sales staff handles the rest! It’s a great, no-cost perk for companies to be able to offer to employees.
Chris’ staff does such a great job day in and day out that they have countless repeat customers who always plan on hosting their annual Brewers outing at Miller Park. Although 25 is the magic number to be considered as a group here, many of those repeat customers are very large groups, like sometimes in excess of 10,000 people large!
For example, we have Little League Night each year and there is a pre-game parade of over 10,000 Little Leaguers. This year’s event falls on Monday, June 20.
“That whole night is very special to me because of the kids involved and being able to see their faces light up as the walk around the warning track with their coaches. It is an incredible feeling. The folks that organize that event are people who truly only care about organizing a fun baseball activity for kids. It is very refreshing,” Chris said.
Other large group nights include Weather Day (April 7), Singles Night (April 25)), Military Appreciation Day (this Sunday, May 15), Racine Day (May 22), Stitch N’ Pitch Night (June 21) , La Crosse Day (June 22) and many more!
Like I said before, whatever the occasion, if you want to give your event a little zing, boom, tararrel, you’ll want to make sure your gang’s all here!
For more information on Group Outings at Miller Park, vist brewers.com/grouptickets or call (414) 902-GRPS (4777).