Fixing the Nats: Marketing

I don’t think I will have time for a large essay on what ails the Nationals franchise and how to fix it which is probably just as well since Jim Bowden is apparently not getting fired. My first post on the topic (I don’t know how many there will be yet) will focus on marketing the team.

Quick — name the official supermarket, fast food restaurant and car of the Washington Nationals?

I am pretty sure Harris Teeter is the official supermarket, but I have never seen anything supporting that fact in my local Harris Teeter. Is there an official fast food restaurant? I don’t get out to them too much so maybe that is why I don’t know. What about official car? I’m not suggesting that they go the route of the Redskins and break it down to official fried chicken/official meat-flavored sandwich/non-dairy creamer of the Nationals, but they ought to do something.

How about getting some players in TV spots? Can you name a single ad with a Nationals player other than the Brad Wilkerson bank ad (tragically, not on youtube) in 2005? If Lastings Milledge is not in an Eastern Motors ad next spring, something is wrong. Get Manny Acta in one of the Mercedes ads that Eddie Jordan and Bruce Boudreau have done too.

The one marketing/public relations area that the Nationals did well in last season was convincing people that there is no parking, thereby scaring off people with no interest in using public transportation. In reality, there was adequate (if expensive) parking available. Not only that, but parking could be bought online a convenience that is appealing, if unneeded given all the empty spaces. This needs to be addressed with a media campaign prior to single-game tickets going on sale.

Another thing, why can’t I get a pocket schedule at any location other than the Nationals Park box office? I should be see these things around all over town, particularly at the “official supermarket/fast food/etc.” Not everyone thinks to go to the Web site when they are interested in going to a game. Seeing a pocket schedule at the 7-Eleven counter might make someone interested too. Stan Kasten has talked about marketing to more than just hardcore baseball fans, yet I have not seen this happen.

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