The 2017 season is rapidly approaching. Time to dust off the cobwebs and get the booth ready for action. We’ve already helped you with your playlist, now it’s time to get your public address script optimized for increased sponsorship sales and a better fan experience.
Why Script It?
When your team’s announcer steps into the booth each week, they should know what is expected of them. Having a script available lets them know what sponsors to promote, what on-field promotions are running and any other community announcements they may need to make.
It is important for the club that you remain organized. Schedules change last minute. Having a public address script that is organized allows anyone to jump on the mic and take over last minute. This not only creates a better scenario for you to get substitutes willing to help, it keeps the transition minimal for your fans.
By placing the same advertisers during the same half inning every game, the audience not only becomes accustom to the routine but they begin to subconsciously memorize it. That helps them remember your advertisers. When a fan uses their product and is asked how they heard about it, they’ll be more likely to say it came from you. That will, ultimately, not only put more money in your advertiser’s pocket but also the club’s.
More beneficial to the club, you get fans anticipating the on-field and in-program promotions. Once they are expecting it, it becomes a part of the game they know and they begin to look forward to the event. How does this benefit the team? Let’s say you’re midway through the season and a sponsor shows up to a game with their family. You don’t know they are there. Imagine how much impact having a well-scripted routine around their product can have on their future giving if every eye in the stadium is on their particular promotional event and people are engaged.
Imagine another scenario where, because your events are so well scripted and smoothly run, potential sponsors begin to come from your fan base. You can’t know what all your fans do in their work. What you can do is impress them enough for them to tell you while they write a company check to the team to get in on the promotional opportunities your club is offering.
What’s It Made Of?
Every team will have their own individual style and set up but, generally, you’ll start with the pre-game announcements. This will include information about parking restrictions, foul ball reminders for the fans and concession rules such as beer service stopping in a particular inning.
From there you’ll move into the opening lineups and all the standard announcements pertaining to that particular day’s game.
Then, every half inning you’ll have scripted advertisement announcements for each sponsor. There should never be more than two in a half inning so don’t over-sell the public address. Many times, teams will throw this into the promotional package because it costs the team nothing. Every product offered on your field has value. Not making the public address just as special as all your other products is a mistake.
Give your sponsors individual attention rather than group mentions. Personalize their announcements as well. If you have a window or auto glass/auto collision repair sponsor, have their ad ready whenever a ball leaves the park into the parking lot. If you have a pizza sponsor giving away free pies, then tie that into your program by having a player sign their ad each game.
What’s Your Style?
There are as many ways to write a script as there are people to write it. There are, however, some general guidelines. We’ve included a sample script the Hawks basketball team made available for their Jr. announcers to use for warming up. Which brings up another really great point. When you have a script, not only can you utilize last-minute fills but you can get your fans involved in the action. You too can have a team promotion where kids have their chance at the mic for half an inning each game. Not only is it another sponsorship opportunity with say, a local broadcast school or kid-centric learning center, it’s always a crowd pleaser when the little ones get their shot.
Another potential tie-in is groups. Let’s say your local language learning school has students out to the park for an event. Offer their star students the opportunity to earn a half-inning on the mic. Groups brings up another big one. Make sure you leave a spot in your public address script to recognize any groups of more than 15 people in your park each game. You’ll get their details from the group ticket sales folks. The announcement should be part of the perks offered to their group.
We also found an in-depth sample that includes specific details for those looking for more guidance, especially when TV times and other broadcast considerations are in play. This is an ideal starting place for any team new to international tournament hosting.
Who’s in Charge?
Once you sell a sponsorship or on-field promotion, your job’s not done. It is the team’s responsibility to help the sponsors with copy. While most of you will have no copy writing experience, your sponsors, especially smaller owned companies, will be relying on your expertise, as an enthusiast of the game, to know your audience. Now that you’ve told them how great their product and baseball or softball work together, it’s time to add the appropriate weight to your words.
If you’re not sure where to start, and the samples aren’t enough to get you going, we recommend writing a few different versions of sample copy then trying them out on a variety of people you trust for honest feedback who would also be in the target audience for the product.
One major thing to keep in mind is who their audience is compared to who will be buying their product. Review the company’s brand before you begin. Learn their audience and find tie-ins with your own. If you’ve done your sales homework then you’ve already got this part done.
Now it’s time to think about purchasing power. While your sponsor might be a toy store, children generally don’t purchase toys. Parents do. Though the majority of sports apparel is worn by men it is actually women who purchase 80% of all sports wear for their family. Knowing your sponsor’s market times, say 30 sponsors, is a lot of research so don’t go it alone. Get your sponsor involved. Ask them to tell you about their purchasers then locate them in your fan base. By deferring to their expertise on their own brand you also vest them in the outcome.
When they help create it, they’ll be vested in the results. Let’s say you work on an advertisement together. They push you to accept a part that you know won’t go over with your audience. You can defer to their desires but then check in, say mid-season, and see what results they’re getting. If it’s not working for them, offer to rework the script with them. They may be more open to your expertise the second time around. Scripts can be changed any time, just make sure to tell your announcer.
When they end of year comes and it’s time to renew, the client may do so when the advertisement didn’t work well simply because they’ll feel it was, in part, their own doing. For this reason, it is beneficial to the team to do two things: (1) write with the client to vest them in the outcome and (2) Rather than ask them about the results, create tangible measurements, for example handing over a ticket stub to receive a discounted offer. When their accountant can point to the 30 discounts they’ve given over five months of play, that sticks with a client on renewal. Why do we involve the sponsors? Besides them knowing their product and audience best, it is much harder for someone personally vested to give up. They’ll take ownership of the sponsorship and that will benefit you both.
The best way to get started with a script is simply to start. As you begin thinking about how your team operates, the traditions that the park has already established are a great jumping off point. Keep in mind that you want no more than 2 minutes of scripted time between each inning. Break that down into 30-second segments. That gets you a maximum of four items talked about every half inning.
If your team has a 7th inning stretch tradition that is a minute long, you can only reasonably fit in one announcement along with it because it will take the crowd time to settle in after they stretch. We would also recommend putting it before the stretch so you aren’t talking over them now that you’ve gotten them riled up and interacting.
If your team does a kid announcer they’ll only be able to read one advertisement and it will need to be in smaller words that any kid can pronounce. Making it a kid-related product, like a local theme park, will add the right energy to the announcement so look for those tie-ins.
Once you create your shell – opening announcements plus all your standard promotions/inning and team traditions – you’ll quickly realize how little there really is to do!