This is my annual Washington Wizards promotional schedule blog post. For the past six years, it's been called Free Stuff! This year's isn't. When I first wrote this post, it was a joyous celebration of the long tradition of kicking back a little love to the fans for showing up to games in the form of trinkets handed out to those folks crossing the threshold of some special regular season games. This year's isn't.
Last year the Washington Wizards gave away stuff to fans at just four games. Yes, they released a schedule with many more games on it like Polish Heritage Night and Student Rush night but there wasn't actually anything given away those nights other than the XL t-shirts cannon-shotted into the crowd during the fourth quarter to get folks to make a little noise. The four items handed out last year? A schedule magnet, a bobblehead, a poster and a pair of sunglasses.
The prior year, the promotional schedule included three games featuring a schedule magnet, a bobblehead and a poster. Year before that? Schedule magnet, bobblehead, poster and snowglobe. Seeing a pattern?
The Wizards finally updated their 2018-2019 promotional schedule either Thursday night or early Friday morning. All 40 (remember there's one home game in London) home games this year are on it although the promotion listed for a full 12 games is just which of the five jerseys the team will use this year will be worn that night. The rest of the schedule is littered with Kids Day or NBA Fit or G-Wiz Birthday, none of which are promotional nights in any real sense of the word. Remove all that sort of nonsense and you'll find the Wizards are giving away gifts to fans on three nights. Want to take a guess at what the three items are? Yep, that's right: schedule magnet, bobblehead and poster.
So I get the Wizards don't have to give away anything to fans at the door. I'm sure some teams don't ever hand out anything. But if you are going to have a promotional schedule, make it a real promotional schedule. This one is about as lazy as you can get. Does the team actually pay someone to come up with this? If they do, I can save them a lot of money and give you next year's slate: how about handing out a magnetic schedule, a bobblehead and a poster? Who exactly the bobblehead is this year is not yet announced by the way. It's just a bobblehead. My money is on Dwight Howard.
What's the problem here exactly? The Capitals (owned by the exact same group) have seven giveaways this year. And yes, there's a schedule magnet, bobblehead and poster on their list too. Other NBA teams have way more giveaways. Earlier this month, I posted my annual bobblehead roundup which has many, many teams handing out multiple bobbles. Why can't we get that too?
The entire season this year is sponsored by Capital One and all three freebees are sponsored by that same company. Have we just turned over the promotional schedule to this company and let them hand out whatever they feel like (which apparently is not much)? We all know how good banks (along with insurance and pharmaceutical companies) are at making money so if that's what's going on the next nine years or so (assuming their presentation of the schedule matches the duration of their naming rights deal) of Cap One sponsorships are going to be bleak.
April 5, 2019 is the annual Wizards bobblehead day. It's also Fan Appreciation Day. I guess that's appropriate because free bobbleheads make me feel appreciated as a fan, as does a competitive team and ticket price increases of less than 20% in a year when the team clinches the eight seed and loses in the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, Fan Appreciation Day comes just once a year so one bobblehead, increases in ticket prices, below expectations on court performance and loss of ancillary benefits like VIP access come the other 364 days of the year.
|To fans too? Not convinced.|