Welcome to my fifth annual preview of the Washington Wizards season promotional schedule. Go check out the Wizards website right now and you won't find this information anywhere on there. This is an exclusive scoop. Sort of. Tell everyone you know who cares about this stuff that you read it here first. OK, so honestly, it's not like I have some inside connection in the Wizards organization. I know this stuff because I picked up one of those little paper fold out schedules at tonight's preseason Wizards - Philadelphia 76ers game. Nonetheless, here's the scoop. Of sorts.
It seems like the Wizards are making this post easier to write every year because they have insisted over the last few years on minimizing the amount of giveaway games. I'm serious. Check out the track record. Four seasons ago, there were six giveaway games. The next season, five. Two years ago they cut it back to four giveaway games and they managed to hold steady at that number last year too. This year? Three. That's it. Despite the number of sponsors' logos affixed to the Verizon Center walls near the main entrance getting bigger every year, the dedicated Wizards faithful get less and less free stuff each year. I guess Capital One deserves a little kudos here because they are the only one of VC's sponsors helping with a freebie this year. Not a good trend.
Given the small amount of promotional nights, you'd think I would be upset. I mean, I love stocking my shelves at home with free Wiz swag. But I'm not as upset as I could be, which you know means there must be at least one bobblehead on the schedule. Spoiler alert: there is! Let's take a look at what's available this season. It won't take long I promise. And as usual, I include my take on how important these items should be in your lives. Nowhere else, folks.
As an aside before we get to the list, if you can call it that, check out the Milwaukee Bucks' and Golden State Warriors' promotional schedule pages. Multiple bobbleheads and multiple sponsors. These guys are pretty much the gold standard for in-game giveaways. Anyway, let's get to our three.
Schedule Magnet (Essential)
November 2 vs. Toronto
Ahhh...the schedule magnet. A home opener tradition unlike any other. It's the perfect way to get the season going. Slap it on your fridge the night after the game (if we win) or the next morning or weekend or whenever (if we lose) and keep it there all season long to act as an essential planning tool. I can't imagine what I'd do without this giveaway each and every season.
Do not miss out on this, folks! Although honestly, these things tend to kick around the building for those who can't make it to the season opener. Of all the in-game giveaways, you are more likely to pick one of these up somehow after this game than any other freebie. When I get mine this year, I'll be taking last year's (shown above) off my refrigerator and sticking it in the box that holds all the other ones I own. Don't ask why I save this stuff; I just do.
Kelly Oubre, Jr. Bobblehead (Essential)
March 3 vs. Toronto
I guess when the Raptors show up at Verizon Center this regular season, we get something worthwhile handed to us at the door.
So this is it. THE bobblehead for the 2016-2017 season. DO NOT miss this game, people. My active Wizards players bobblehead collection is down to just three players in John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter so getting a fourth to start to resemble a starting lineup will be good. I can insert my Marcin Gortat action figure in there if I feel I really need to.
I honestly thought KOJ would end up as the G Wiz Kids' Club bobblehead this year since he's been the designated second player (along with Otto) to attend the kids' halloween party the last couple of years. I take his insertion into the regular season as a sign that there will be no bobblehead offered with the Kids Club membership this year, although I may just be a glass half empty guy on this one.
Now the only question is...will Kelly's bobblehead have short shorts?
Team Poster (PASS!)
March 5 vs. Orlando
So there are only three giveaway nights and two of them are two days apart? That's right. But it doesn't matter. For me, the team poster is one of those things I just don't pick up at the door. I just wave it off like I'm too adult for handouts at the door while knowing all along it's just not true. I just don't want a poster.
And just like that, we're at the end of this post. That didn't take long, did it? Feel better about the low number of giveaways now? Nope, me either.
Pick up the fold out schedule at a game in the near future and you'll find a whole list of promotional nights including Social Media Night, Polish Heritage Night, Kids Night, Kids Day, Faith and Family Night and Monumental Sports Network Night (way to self promote here). Don't be fooled. These are schemes to sell more tickets, not give more stuff away. I'm circling March 3 on my magnetic schedule when I pick it up. Unfortunately, getting the good free stuff this year is easy. Maybe next year...