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.

Yet.

Gotta problem with star casting? Talk to Hugh Jackman.

I’m one of the lucky folk that got a couple of tickets to see A Steady Rain, and to be honest, that’s only because I’m a Tony Voter. If I weren’t a TV, I’m not sure I would have even tried to score seats to what is one of the most difficult tickets of the decade.

(I mean, each one of these guys could have sold out a play on their own. Sort of seems like a waste having them in the same play!)

At the end of this 90 minute Hunk-O-Mania, Hugh stopped the thunderous ovation to begin his BC/EFA fundraising speech.

He started it with this question . . .

“How many of you are here tonight seeing your very first Broadway show?”

At least 100 hands shot up.

Star casting has taken a lot of swipes over the years, and believe me, I’ve had my issue with a number of no-talents that have struggled their way through a Broadway play or musical.

But the right stars could be doing more to develop new audiences than we could ever do on our own.

What happened after Hugh’s question?  He and Daniel proceeded to live-auction-off signed t-shirts and backstage visits and photos, all to benefit BC/EFA.  They raised over $20k in about 10 minutes.

Thanks for joining us on Broadway, guys.  And thanks for your incredible generosity to the community.

Today’s audiences are lucky to have you . . . and so are tomorrow’s.

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