The MLB Players Association summer hobby shop promotion, Big League Blast, concluded in August 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 small specialty retailers needed to create events to bring people into their store 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.”
An online survey about the Big League Blast has been sent out to all participating hobby shops, which Kaplan hopes to have returned in the next week.
“We’re asking them for their feedback, asking them to analyze results, quantify the lifts in sales and see if they will anniversary it in 2010,” Kaplan said. “If so, do we do the promotion for three months, four weeks? Is it too long or short? Should they be consecutively or one in March, June or August, based on product releases, slow periods, etc.?”
Kaplan said they could have had many more than 250 shops, as the initial response was excellent.
But the feedback has been even better from those who have participated.
“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. “After the drawing was completed, the customers continued to buy baseball card packs for the next drawing. Apparently, they liked the prizes and wanted as many chances as possible to be a winner for the next drawing.”
In addition to the Big League Blast, Kaplan said the Baseball Card Clubhouse promotion is on track into 2010 with more than 500 stores currently participating and new forms still coming in. “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.