Best Contest or On-field Promotion:
What promotion or contest is the most entertaining. For example, a “Chuck-a-puck” contest. This is a repeatable on-field or video promotion held in-game. Consider entertainment value, creativity, local connections, sponsorship possibilities, cost, and repeat-ability.
Winner: Beat the Freeze
“The Beat the Freeze is just the most perfect promotion,” raved one panelist. “Every race is unique, you never know what will happen. It has excitement, intrigue, leaves everyone in the stands thinking that they could do it.”
For the fourth time in five years the Atlanta Braves’ superhero The Freeze raced past the competition to win the best contest of the year. A fan who beats the masked sprinter Nigel Talton may win $100 gift card, but it is Braves’ fans who always win seeing this spectacle race on the warning track.
The Freeze is even taking on runners when the Braves aren’t playing, like this news-making segment with former NFL receiver Chad Ochocinco.
.@ochocinco really raced The Freeze from the Braves games 😂
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 28, 2021
The Freeze just keeps on winning.
— The Freeze (@BeatTheFreeze) November 3, 2021
- Best of 2021 – Beat the Freeze (Atlanta Braves)
- Best of 2020 – Virtual Shirt Toss (Pittsburgh Pirates)
- Best of 2019 – Beat the Freeze (Atlanta Braves)
- Best of 2018 – Beat the Freeze (Atlanta Braves)
- Best of 2017 – Beat the Freeze (Atlanta Braves)
- Best of 2016 – Money Hungry Hippos (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Best of 2015 – Chick-fil-a Fowl Shot (Washington Wizards)
- Best of 2014 – Eat, Drink and Play (Gwinnett Braves)
- Best of 2013 – Pittsburgh Pirates The Great Pittsburgh Pierogie Race N’at
- Best of 2012 – Washington Nationals President’s Race
- Best of 2011– Sue Bird Racing
- Best of 2010 – Kiss Cam (MN Twins)
- Best of 2009– Sausage Race (Milwaukee Brewers )/Presidents Race (Washington Nationals)
- Best of 2008– Chuck-a-Puck(Fort Wayne Komets)
- Best of 2007 – Presidents Race (Washington Nationals)
- Best of 2006 – Inflat-a-Bull Races (Chicago Bulls)
- Best of 2005 – Florida Lottery Beach Ball Promotion (Orlando Magic)
- Best of 2004 – Human Sling Shot Hockey Puck
- Best of 2003 – Sausage Race (Milwaukee Brewers)
- Best of 2002 – Parachute Prize Drop
Listen to the Best of 2021 Audio Round Table discussing all the categories and winners with out panel of Jon Cudo, Amanda Greco, Chris Grosse and Benjamin Hill. – December 2021 Party in the Back Podcast
Also on Gameops.com
See The Store at Gameops.com where we have many turn-key sponsor-friendly promotions and game entertainment resources available, like Build-a-Burger, Parachute Drops, Chuck-a-Puck and the World’s Largest Cornhole Game.
A mascot whose work was creative and enthusiastic, serving as a valuable tool for their team and in their community. Consider ability to engage and entertain fans, create fresh innovative content, and create a multidimensional character who is effective in-game, in-community, online, and through social media. All sports team characters and college mascots are eligible.
One Hockey Team Executive raved “Gritty is just without peers right now in terms of mascot performance, presence, and following. The King of Social Media.”
Gritty is indeed everywhere and his star hasn’t faded since he launched in 2018. Instant meme, leftist avatar and the soul of Philadelphia this orange nightmare is the mascot you never knew you needed.
The team has done an excellent job keeping Gritty at the center of its in-arena show and Gritty’s work on social media is unmatched. One industry journalist called Gritty “A near perfect mascot in the social-media age.”
He has his own 5k Race, is a featured attraction for affiliate nights and has taken over as the mascot world’s most notable cake tosser on his way to being named the Best Mascot of 2021.
Gotcha hat pic.twitter.com/byauwiRVi7
— Gritty (@GrittyNHL) November 16, 2021
Honorable Mention: Tommy Hawk (Chicago Blackhawks) and Slugger the SeaDog (Portland SeaDogs)
Tommy Hawk (Chicago Blackhawks)
Tommy Hawk used the COVID-era to create a pre-game ritual with Hawks star Patrick Kane. His on-going quest to catch a puck in his second-deck perch became an episodic hit on social media, culminating with him eventually snaring a puck in this celebrated moment. Tommy also was one half of the big Chicago Mascot Swap that benefited both teams and showcased his two-sport chops.
Tommy Hawk Finally Catches the Puck from Patrick Kane!https://t.co/vM921YdcZP
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) April 9, 2021
Slugger the SeaDog (Portland SeaDogs)
Several panelists noted Slugger the SeaDog’s charm and active social media efforts. The MILB standout gets the most out of his skit work by posting the hits and misses. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” noted a panelist who admired Sluggers willingness to put himself out there. Fans embrace the journey and his lovable antics are all part of his award-winning persona.
- Best of 2021 – Gritty (Philadelphia Flyers)
- Best of 2020 – Sluggerrr (KC Royals) and Spurs Coyote
- Best of 2019 – Gritty – Philadelphia Flyers
- Best of 2018 – Stuff – Orlando Magic
- Best of 2017 – Stuff – Orlando Magic
- Best of 2016 – Stuff- Orlando Magic
- Best of 2015 – Orbit – Houston Astros
- Best of 2014 – Orbit – Houston Astros
- Best of 2013 – Benny the Bull (Chicago Bulls)
- Best of 2012 – Benny the Bull (Chicago Bulls)
- Best of 2011 – Rocky (Denver Nuggets)
- Best of 2010 – Thunder (Lake Elsinore Storm)
- Best of 2009 – Thunder (Lake Elsinore Storm)
- Best of 2008 – Timber Jim (Portland Timbers)
- Best of 2007 – Parker (Fresno Grizzlies)
- Best of 2006 — Raptor (Toronto Raptors)
- Best of 2005 – The Coyote (San Antonio Spurs)
- Best of 2004 – The Gorilla (Phoenix Suns)
- Best of 2003 – Squatch (Seattle Sonics)/Clutch (Houston Rockets)
- Best of 2002 – Rocky (Denver Nuggets)
- Best of 2001 – Rocky (Denver Nuggets)
Gameops.com Plus is a network to enhance the fan value of events. Twice a month we gather for an hour-long discussion on an industry topic with a special guest to share their insights. Leaders like Zack Frongillo (Savannah Bananas), Steve Johnston (Kroenke Sports), Claire Czerniuk (Detroit Pistons), Zoltan Berensci (Harlem Globetrotters), John Franzone (Tampa Bay Lightning), Tyler Ferraro (Vegas Golden Knights), Maurice Brazelton (Sacramento Kings), Jackie Maldonado (Houston Texans), Todd Bosma (Portland Trail Blazers), and Anton Wright (MLSE) have discussed a wide range of industry topics.
Coming in November “Upping your Appearance Game with Kenn Solomon and Jon Cudo” (11/9 1pm EST) and “Excellence in Live Event Hosting with Greg Hutson” (11/22 1pm EST).