It’s rare to hear of professional athletes giving fans tours of team locker rooms, or fans getting to walk across the same field upon which their sports heroes play, but the New York Red Bulls are offering those opportunities as part of the team’s first ever fan fest.
The festival, being held Saturday afternoon at the club’s Harrison arena, is a way for the team to engage fans, according to Matt O’Neil, vice president of sales and marketing for the team.
Fans will be able to spend time on the field, kick penalty shots and take photos in the goal. But most importantly to the team, Saturday is the first opportunity for fans to pick their season ticket seats for next season.
Jurgen Mainka, vice president of communications, said the team sold roughly 10,000 types of season tickets for the 2011 season. He said the team hopes to sell 10,000 full season tickets for the 2012 season, building off of the club’s playoff run and All-Star hosting duties this past year. The Red Bulls sold out four of their final six home games during a push for the playoffs.
“We are marketing to the hard core Red Bulls fan, the 90 million casual soccer fans in this country and sports fans in general,” Minka said of the team’s strategy.
O’Neil said awareness of the team is the top issue, and that the fan fest will “educate the consumer that we’re here.”
The team is expecting roughly 1,600 people to attend the fest. More than 400 people have responded to the open public invitation, and more than 200 people who attended Red Bulls games last year responded to personal phone call invitations from the ticket sales team.
“The response has been incredible,” O’Neil said. “People want to get into this growing stampede.”