Mascot costumes are expensive. Get the most out of the investment by utilizing the suit all year long.
Of course you should bring your mascot along to charity events for kids, such as visits to the children’s ward at a hospital, or a dinner at a Ronald McDonald House. There are other ways to utilize the suit however to increase the team’s visibility within the community while driving attendance back to the stadium.
Here are five quick, effective ways to use your team’s all-heart player for more than just an afternoon of giggles between innings.
Summer Camp Signups
Does your town host a summer camps invitational? Near our offices there is a weekend each year for all the companies offering summer camps to have displays in the city center for sign up purposes. In our city the baseball team participates each year.
We recommend bringing your mascot and your softball team along. It’s an excellent opportunity to hand out schedules for both teams, take photos with kids passing by, all while camp sign ups continue to pour in. Little kids want to see big kids they can grow to be like one day. A player that takes the time to teach them the differences in the sports from day one has an admirer for life.
City/Town Annual Celebration
Does your village have a special day that’s all their own, maybe a celebration of their establishment as a community? This is the perfect opportunity for your mascot to get involved. If there is a parade perhaps they can lead one of the school marching bands that has no mascot. A side tip, this is an excellent way to introduce the idea of a team float in future parades.
Is your team mascot also the town’s mascot? For example if you are a mining town and your mascot is a miner, make your team’s mascot the town’s mascot as well. Be the mascot of the celebration.
Offer to take photos with kids to help raise funds for the annual celebration. Whatever the cause, the more visible the mascot is outside the park, the more likely that kids will ask to go to the park to see them again.
Does your area host fun runs or marathons? How about having your mascot come to the event to cheer on the racers? You can plan ahead with the event organizers, maybe even get the mascot involved in some ceremonial happenings.
You can also simply have your mascot strategically located near the finish line to cheer on the participants as they cross. By having the mascot near the end of the race, you increase the coverage the mascot might receive, intentionally or otherwise, in photos, social media and video from the event.
Is your mascot different than that of another local sports team? Set up a cross promotion between your mascots. During your season invite their mascot to the park for a mascot race night where both mascots are the center of attention.
If you do on-field promotions including the mascots in things like the dizzy bat races. You can even set each mascot up with a team of participants and have their teams compete in a variety of promotions throughout the game to see which mascot’s team is the winner. The winning mascot can do a victory lap around the bases with their participants at the end of the game. Of course, at your field everyone's a winner so, regardless of the points, both teams get to take a lap.
If you set something like this up at your park, make sure to have the other team reciprocate with an equally visible event at their stadium or arena during your off-season.
Plan the exchanges so that each happens close to the beginning of the next team’s season. For example, if you are teaming up with your local basketball team, and their season runs fall to spring, then you should go to their games in spring while having their mascot visit you at the stadium in late summer.
Annual Tourist Events
Annual celebrations, especially those with lots of tourists, are a great opportunity to increase the visibility of your team mid-season. Carnival kicks off a string of events that show no signs of stopping until far into fall. Fireworks (Germany’s Rhine in Flames), street festivals (Ireland’s Spraoi Street Festival), Music Festivals (Serbia’s Guca Trumpet Festival) and traditional celebrations (Italy’s Flag Games) are all perfect opportunities to get your mascot in on the action. Unless the suit is stain guarded and already needs a cleaning however, we suggest you skip the Tomato Festival if you’re a mascot in Spain.
The point is to become part of the larger celebrations. Where your mascot goes, so too does a personal guard dressed in your team gear, as well as a bunch of schedules. This is where your pocket schedules really come in handy. If there are already tourists in your area, and they are at these events, why not invite them to attend a game?
Compared to the cost of most of the other things they’ll be doing in town, your event is likely to be very economical and, more often than not, happening at a time when they might have some free time in their day.
Seeing most teams play midday double headers on the weekends, and many are playing in local parks, it’s a perfect opportunity to draw them in. This is especially true on Sunday afternoons where most of Europe closes down for the day. While this is common practice on the continent, it can be quite surprising to visitors from afar.
Create a team geocache at your park, then hint about it to the tourists you meet, and you’re practically guaranteeing that those interested in an excuse to escape the city for a few hours will show up for a wander through the park. After all, it’s just as easy, and way more fun, to catch a catnap or decompress from a weary journey in the middle of a park, sun on your face, than in yet another hotel room on the road.
Take a look at your town’s calendar and see where it makes sense to join in the festivities. Chances are you already have a great working relationship with your local government. Ask them if there are opportunities where they would be interested in having your mascot available.
While the five events above will be done for the greater good - providing good will in hopes of a return both in attendance and team visibility - there is one way to utilize your mascot to increase the team coffer.
One way to spread the word about the team directly to potential consumers, while also making the team a bit of cash on the side, is to offer your mascot out for company events. Many companies have family parties. At these outings planners are always on the lookout for ways to keep kids entertained.
As we mentioned before, if your team's mascot also happens to represent an industry in the area, all the better. Talk directly with that industry. Ask if they'd be interested in having your mascot represent them at company events such as groundbreakings, launch parties and other press-friendly opportunities.
The best part of company events is that the team can be paid to have their mascot appear. You work in a fee to pay your mascot for their time while also helping the team's rainy day fund grow. If it's the right opportunity for all involved, you can even work a discounted rate into stadium signage when the company becomes a sponsor next season.
Like we said at the start, the cost of a mascot costume is big. Make it pay off for the team over the season, and throughout the off season as well. There are always going to be kids events in town looking for friendly faces. As long as you can find a way to rationally tie it back to the team, through ticket or merchandise sales, by all means join in the fun!