Up until this semester, a pigeon was the only bird I associated with Charm City and orange was something that you ate, not a color that fit into my wardrobe. All that changed when I became an intern for the team that became a phenomenon this summer and fall, The Baltimore Orioles. I was assigned to the Corporate Sales and Partnership Marketing program and was exposed to the contracts and proposals for current and upcoming sponsorship accounts. Furthermore, I assisted and led many game day promotions and events that were directly correlated to the servicing of sponsorship contracts. The Orioles have over 100 sponsorship deals in place that range from the obvious advertisements plastered all across the outfield walls to more subtle details such as the “Natty Boh Brot” or a “GEICO” logo mounted on the bottom of the ALCS rally towels. In the end, whether you realize it or not, Camden Yards is filled with the logos and merchandise of local companies such as Under Armour to globally recognized brands such as Budweiser all throughout the park.
My tasks fell into two categories: gameday promotions and office duties. To start, gameday promotions mostly dealt with providing our sponsors with top-notch hospitality that includes all different kinds of perks. For example, one of the most prolific clients for the Orioles is Bank of America. Therefore, during game 1 of the ALCS, I escorted around 12 clients from Bank of America down onto the field for Batting Practice. At this time, these clients got to experience what it’s like for a player to be down on the field prior to a playoff game. These clients would be within arms reach of all the Orioles players and coaching staff. Frequently, these clients would ask, “You must be used to this by now,” and to be honest, I can’t say I ever got used to such a surreal experience. The whole city got behind the Orioles during their playoff run, and there truly was no place like Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
One of my more surreal moments was when I was side by side with Mr. Boh himself who was set to throw out the first pitch during an afternoon matchup against the Yankees. I escorted him onto the field, and he asked me (while in full costume), “Do you have any advice for throwing out the first pitch?” It was just a very funny situation as I was seen talking to a mascot that Baltimore seems to idolize. Some fans may have thought I was a bit crazy as it looked like I was just talking to myself, but in reality, I was doing my best to keep Mr. Boh at ease.
Aside from the meet and greets with players, I’d have to say that my favorite promotion to run was the “Esskay Steal Second Base” contest. For this promotion, I would meet the contestant (who is usually around 8 years old) and their parent at the “Fan Assistance” Entrance of Camden Yards. From there, I would take them into the grounds crew area where the contestant is briefed on the task that lies ahead. They simply have to run from the outfield wall to second base in the middle of the fifth inning and pick up second base. Then, they must run it back to the outfield wall in under a minute. If accomplished, the contestant gets to keep the base, and it really is an unforgettable experience for the young boy or girl. When the contest is running, I am on the field and direct the child where to go. Again, Esskay is getting their name out there by sponsoring this event as the child is wearing an Orioles’ jersey with “Esskay” on the back.
A major project that I worked on for my office duties had to deal with brand recognition and monitoring the reach of each sponsor. It is quite a difficult task to really conclude how many people see a certain sign in the Park, or a distinct billboard as they travel up a ramp to their seats. Therefore, I created a deck in order to find some of the most reliable and accredited programs that could put a number on how many people see certain signage. This was a very interesting task for me as I was able to study and analyze what a consumer really recognizes when watching a ballgame. For example, a great catch by Adam Jones in Center Field can be shown on the local news, ESPN and all across the country. As a result, brands are not only reaching a local audience, but they also are being viewed by people all across the country as well. Therefore, the Orioles had to show their clients that it would be beneficial to the company to agree on such deals because millions of eyeballs are seeing their company on a daily basis. Overall, finding a program to put a distinct number on how many people recognize certain sponsorship was vital to the Orioles’ Corporate Sales Department.
Interning with the 2014 AL East Champions truly was an incredible experience. From my interview to my time in the office, everything about the organization was first class. I am quite lucky to be able to say I am part of such a storied franchise, and I am excited to be back for the start of the 2015 season. Orange and black is now an integral part of my wardrobe. Go O’s!
Glenn Hyams ‘16