Chargers FanFest 2011
“It’s kind of like when a dad takes his kid to the candy shop,” he explained. “You’re outside the candy shop, you’re looking at the candy, but you’re not allowed to go in and get the candy. And then your dad just turns around and takes you home. That’s exactly what being a Chargers fan is like.”
That’s how Oak Park/San Diego Coutny’s Lee Norman explains the psychology of being a Charger fan and Super Bowl dreams. (ARTICLE) As a life-long Charger fan myself, I think that’s pretty sad.
I was a disappointed to see the promotions for FanFest 2011. Only kids ages 6 -1 4 were allowed on the field, and only the first 2000 with wrist bands. The Chargers sited safety as a reason they have strict rules in place. Each kid was allowed only one personal item to sign. So if you had a Philip Rivers jersey, you either got his signature only or sacrificed your jersey to get autographs from more than one player. Since it was kids-only on the field, there were no doting parents taking pictures with the family. The Chargers tweeted that there were other open practices to attend, if adults wanted to get autographs.
It was pictures like this one from the event, which made me scratch my head. Players sitting at a table…a barrier between them and their fans.
I treasure the days when players hung out after a pre-season open practice and talked to us kids (and parents), told stories, took pictures and signed autographs. We didn’t have scheduled FanFest’s in the early 80’s, but we didn’t need them…the players were available and able to interact freely with fans, no rules, no wristbands, no limits on personal items brought to sign. I have the memory of shaking Dan Fouts’ hand, kissing Rolf Benirschke on the cheek and taking pictures with the likes of Kellen Winslow – more valuable to me than anything I have that was signed.
Running a business focused on marketing and branding makes me look at events and programs differently. Things have changed a lot since I was a pre-teen and along with the events, marketing efforts and PR methods have changed dramatically. I wanted to see more updates by players individually, a flurry of posts and tweets during the event and connecting digitally with the fans. Contests, games and prizes are an easy way to incentivize fans and help make those who couldn’t attend the event feel like they were there.
I can appreciate that Charger’s FanFest 2011 may have come together quickly due to NFL lock-outs, but believe my Chargers can be ground breakers and standard setters, even with short notice. Fans just want a moment to linger in the candy store and a leave with good taste to savor. FanFest is the perfect opportunity for a sugar rush.
Did you go to FanFest 2011? What are your thoughts? What would have given the day a more personal touch?
You can catch a few photos and videos of FanFest on the Charger website: http://www.chargers.com/