Saturday, July 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

VP Night for the Phantoms

It's not that Phantoms PR directors Mike Thornton and Brian Smith have that much time on their hands. But you need a few tickets on the clock to come up with the giveaways they've done recently, such as a refrigerator and kitchen sink autographed by team members.

VP Night for the Phantoms

It’s not that Phantoms PR directors Mike Thornton and Brian Smith have that much time on their hands. But you need a few tickets on the clock to come up with the giveaways they’ve done recently, such as a refrigerator and kitchen sink autographed by team members.

So a similar lull one recent day produced a promotion for Oct. 18 that’s timely and inventive: a VP night. Only they won’t be honoring Flyers VPs Bob Clarke or Keith Allen. This one will call attention to hockey mom Sarah Palin and opponent Joe Biden. Appropriately, the Binghamton Senators will be the opponent for the 7:05 p.m. game at the Wachovia Spectrum. Those attending who hail from the home states of the two vice presidential candidates – Delaware and Alaska – will get in at half price, as will all moms who bring a child or children to the game. And if your name is the same that Palin and her hubby gave one of her kids -- Piper, Willow, Bristol, Track, Trig, Hunter, Beau or Ashley – you can walk in without paying a thing. Now that’s a trickle-down policy I’d vote for.

Smith said the idea geminated the way most of their do, with he, Thornton and marketing coordinator Adam Goldberg sitting around kicking around the specifics of holding a Sarah Palin Night, with free admission to all kids named Track. “And it kind of blossomed from there,” Smith said. “It’s one of those things where somebody says something funny and then you’re like, hey, wait a minute, that’s a good possibility.

“So we kind of hashed it out a little bit and developed it, looked at it again. We did a couple things to make sure we weren’t being one-sided one way or another,” Smith said, adding, “We don’t want to make anybody mad on either end of the spectrum.”

He said it, I didn’t.

Invitations have gone out to local offices of the Republican and Democratic parties and, no doubt, word of the promotion will find its way to the national offices of Palin and Biden. As you’d expect, with all the flap over the “lipstick on a pig” comment, the Phantoms will set up a cosmetic station where fans can sample the latest in lipstick fashion. 

In addition, these prizes will be awarded during the second period:

* A one-way ticket to Washington, DC on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Line

* Alaskan King Crab dinner for two at Shuckers Pier 13 in Dover, Delaware

* DVD copies of “The Deadliest Catch” and “Miami Vice”

* A stuffed pit bull, adorned with lipstick

And why shouldn’t the theme also figure into one element of the game itself: the three stars. The game’s best player will be named the second star; the one who normally would be the second star will be named the First Dude. 

Meanwhile, the team will continue its “big-ticket” giveaways, this time offering a team-autographed bench vise courtesy of The Home Depot. That pretty much covers every room except the bedroom in terms of items that the Phantoms have had signed as a promotion. Give the boys some quiet time in their office and they’ll surely come up with something that would go perfect in the boudoir.

Otherwise, they figure to spend many of their days working on promotions that will center on the imminent closing of the Wachovia Spectrum. Smith said that “a lot of stuff is still being hashed out. For our opening night we’re looking to bring back some figures from the past . . . Obviously we’re going to do our share of Flyers things, but we’re going to be doing our share of Spectrum things, too. We’re trying to work at least something into as many games as we can throughout the course of the season so folks can kinda remember all the stuff that they came to. We know we’ll have people coming who are coming to a game because they want to be in the building one more time.

Paul Vigna
About this blog
Paul Vigna still has the seat he wrestled out of the concrete at Connie Mack Stadium parked in the finished basement, a 1980 Phillies championship mirror hanging above it. Now, why he’s kept an autograph of former Flyer Bruce Gamble on a sheet of Hockey Hall of Fame paper is another story. A native of Philly who grew up in Lansdale, he’s an assistant sports editor at the Daily News in charge of special projects who has written two columns related to sports and consumers: View From the Seats and Savvy Consumer.

ABOUT THIS BLOG:
Athletic contests were, for a long time, simply fun and games. Nowadays they’re just a small part of a sports entertainment industry that puts billions of dollars into play and a number of issues into motion. Moneyball indeed. You might be closer to the action than ever before, but that privilege comes at a price - and often it’s beyond what you can afford.

With that as the backdrop we’ll use this blog to dig out stories and swap advice about how the fan experience is changing and what it’s costing you now and in the future. Some of it will educate, some will let you vent. And in a sports panel format, it should allow for a consensus of opinion that can carry some weight.

Reach Paul at vignap@phillynews.com.

Paul Vigna
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