Sports teams and their owners are always dreaming up new ways to sell tickets and merchandise, and while there are some good promotions, many are so poorly thought out or utterly foolish they should never be put into practice. Thankfully for those of us who enjoy reveling in the stupidity of others they were. Here’s a few of the worst offenders:
The Golden State Warriors recently unveiled their new “sleeved” uniforms. Criticism was swift and harsh and generally focused on the fact that they look amateurish, like a group of guys at the Y or at a 3-on-3 tourney, anything but professionals athletes.
The move is reminiscent of when the White Sox experimented with wearing shorts, an experiment that left them looking more like beer-league softball team and lasted 3 games
Or when the Flyers tried pants on for size.
They wore those beauties for a whole season, even inspired The Whalers to wear them the next year. We’ll see how long those sleeves hang around.
The “FoxTrak” wasn’t designed to put asses in seats but to help asses at home follow hockey by making the puck easier to see. And the best way to make the puck easier to see, according to the geniuses at Fox sports, was to make it glow. Oh how it glowed. Bright blue and it would streak when passed or shot, the streak turning red when the puck moved over 80 mph. Known in Canada as “the dumbest fucking thing ever,” the Foxtrak was a slap in the face to hockey fans, both old ones and the new ones it was designed to draw in, and the NHL’s TV ratings dropped and didn’t recover until the Winter Classic a decade later.
Flying in the face of the notion that promotions are about getting more people to come out to the games, the minor-league Charleston Riverdogs decided to throw a “nobody night” in 2009 where fans were barred from the ballpark in an effort to set a Guinness Book World Record for lowest attendance at a pro baseball game. People came anyway, partied and barbequed in the parking lot and took turns standing on ladders to look into the park and watch a pitch or two. The fact that the promo was deemed a great success by all involved probably says more about the quality of Riverdog games than anything else.
On June 4, 1974, the Cleveland Indians and their fans taught the world that: a) people should never be allowed to get wasted for $1, and b) highly intoxicated individuals watching a slow-paced game become bored and bored drunk people make their own fun.
Fans threw food and beer and spit on the visiting Rangers, they ran on the field, a woman flashed her breasts from the on-deck circle, a man streaked across the field during a HR trot, a father and his son mooned the bleachers, it might have been the best gimmick ever if it wasn’t for the riot. Obviously in ended in a riot, with fans armed with knives and chains squaring off with the Ranger players armed with bats. Ultimately the Indians had to forfeit the game, though that didn’t dampen the crowds rioting spirit only the Indian player wielding bats themselves finally did that.
Having learned from the error of the Indians the Chicago White Sox dreamed up what they believed to be a much safer promotion with 1979’s “Disco Demolition Night.” The plan was to have fans bring disco records to be burnt in the outfield between games of a double-header, what could possibly go wrong? Well for one, people hated disco by 1979 and 90,000 people showed up, way more than Comiskey Field could hold; for two the record-fuel bonfire got out of control — imagine that — and for three a planned explosion was too explosive and blew out a section of the outfield wall allowing thousands more fans to stream on field from the parking lot. In the end the White Sox were forced to forfeit the second game, but coincidentally — or not? — disco never enjoyed the same success after 1979, so maybe we should thank the White Sox and their fans.
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