3 Things I’ve learned from the NBA, NFL and MLB.

Since Broadway and Off-Broadway shows can’t afford to have marketing laboratories trying every idea we come up with, I often look to other industries to see what they’re doing, in the hopes of being inspired to try something in ours.

Here are three simple ideas that I got from the NBA, the NFL and MLB.

  1. Have a ‘Bat Day’.Need a reason for people to come to the theater on a Tuesday?  Need a reason to get some of your marketing materials in the homes of your advocates?  Most importantly, need a reason to get some press?  Give something away!  People love free stuff, whether it’s a bat, a hat, or a souvenir program.  On Oleanna we gave away Mamet’s latest book, which got us in the press, gave the customers more of a value, and put a big, bulky, hardcover impression on hundreds of coffee tables.
  2. Sell your turf.The NY Giants recently announced that they were selling off the pieces of their stadium before it gets demolished this year.  You can buy turf, seats, even the goal posts.  Why not?  It’s environmentally friendly, it’s gonna make some fans happy, and it’s gonna make the Giants some money.  We just did something similar at Altar Boyz and donated a chunk of the money to BC/EFA, and used the rest to write down some of our closing costs.
  3. Retire your best players’ jerseys.When great players leave the game, they raise the jerseys into the air where everyone can see them and remember the history that is a part of each franchise.  Why don’t long running shows do something like this?  It seems like 3,425 people have played Billy Flynn in Chicago.  I’d love to see a picture (or even the same small costume piece) from each one of them along the walls inside the Ambassador.  And I think audiences would eat it up as well.  A list of well-respected actors that have come before the current cast could give the production even more weight, and more for an audience to talk about.

Marketing is everywhere.  Don’t be afraid to snatch another industry’s idea and make it your own.

They’d do it to us.  The problem is, we haven’t come up with anything first.


  • Uke Jackson says:

    When I used to be on the air weekly with “The Flaming Ukulele Radio Hour” I would give away a ukulele once a month. The week’s I was giving away a ukulele, I began the show by strumming a few chords. Listeners knew and immediately the phone lines lit up and stayed lit up for the entire hour.
    It was a public radio show, simulcast live on the internet, so I had people calling in from all over — even Canada and England. Everybody wanted to win a ukulele. When I started giving away ukuleles as premiums during our beg-a-thons (fundraising drives) my show became the biggest money raiser for the station, far and away.
    So, when I staged my musical “Ukulele Land” (f.k.a. “Sex! Drugs! & Ukuleles!”) in 2008, I gave away a ukulele at every show. People loved it. The word of mouth alone from the ukulele giveaways — we had no ad budget — kept the house full or near full each night.
    Unfortunately, and despite several good reviews, none of the invited commercial producers (or their assistants) ever came to see the show. Btw, Ken, there’s a script and CD floating around your office someplace.

  • Uke Jackson says:

    ps. The ukuleles cost about $12 each by the dozen. We gave away 1 in a raffle drawing at each show.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *