Visit Sarasota County and Baltimore Orioles partner again for another exceptional year
SARASOTA, Fla. (March 3, 2014) – For the fifth year in a row, Visit Sarasota County (VSC) and the Baltimore Orioles are cultivating a successful year-round marketing partnership, estimated at $1 million annually, designed to increase visitors from the Mid-Atlantic region and promote Sarasota County as a global sports destination year-round.
VSC’s analysis shows the initiatives’ results are exceeding expectations. Since the start of the partnership five years ago, visitors from Maryland increased more than 100% from 5,000 in 2009 to 10,600 in 2012.
“We have found that visitors from the Baltimore, Md. and Washington, D.C. area are now coming back for their second, third and fourth seasons and bringing their friends with them,” said Virginia Haley, president of VSC. “They have helped feed our local economy and we look forward to welcoming them not only for spring training but throughout the year as well.”
The power of partnership lies in both organizations’ abilities to use their strengths to spread the message year-round about the Orioles’ activities on and off the field and Sarasota County’s beaches, culture, dining and more.
“The breadth and economic impact of the marketing partnership between VSC and the Orioles is unprecedented in Major League Baseball,” said Greg Bader, vice president of communications and marketing for the Orioles. “Working with the VSC to share the Orioles’ media and marketing muscle is generating exciting results for the Sarasota County community.”
The marketing elements of the partnership include activities both in Sarasota County’s Ed Smith Stadium during spring training as well as activities at Oriole Park at Camden Yards during regular season games.
Visitor Information Center at Ed Smith Stadium for Orioles Fans
Orioles provide a visitor welcome center in Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium concourse, where VSC staff and volunteers continually interact with the more than 100,000 patrons seeking information about Sarasota County tourism.
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN)
MASN, the Orioles’ TV rights holder, will air seven spring training games this season from Ed Smith Stadium to homes throughout the mid-Atlantic region. MASN’s exclusive TV territory covers more than 7-million households in six states. VSC also continues to stay in front of potential visitors through advertising year-round on MASNsports.com.
Major League Baseball (MLB) Network
The MLB Network, which reaches more than 70-million households, will air six MASN-produced spring training games from Sarasota, as well as seven additional spring training road games to a national audience. Visiting teams, including the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, may also air games from Sarasota to their respective TV markets.
The Orioles’ radio flagship, WBAL on 1090 AM (a 50,000-watt station covering Maryland and neighboring states), will broadcast 14 spring training games, eight of which will be played in Sarasota.
VSC print advertising is featured as part of all Orioles Publications, including four issues of the game program (one in Sarasota and three in Baltimore) as well as the Orioles Team Yearbook. Each edition is distributed to more than 15,000 readers. A VSC advertisement is printed on the back of more than 200,000 regular season pocket schedules that are distributed throughout the Baltimore, Md. and Washington, D.C. areas.
Year-round promotion in Baltimore and Camden Yards
Each year, the Orioles hold a FanFest celebration in Baltimore, Md., drawing about 15,000 people who seize the opportunity to interact with players, coaches and front office personnel. VSC serves as the presenting sponsor of this event, and the staff helps book spring training trips for visitors seeking February or March getaways to Sarasota.
Camden Yards Season Plan Holders Spring Training Tickets
All Oriole Park at Camden Yards season plan holders receive a special offer for free spring training tickets – a promotion designed to encourage mid-Atlantic-based fans to travel to Sarasota County.
Visit Sarasota County Day at Oriole Park
VSC hosts a day at Oriole Park each season, providing a giveaway to fans featuring Visit Sarasota logo and other promotional items. A booth set up in the ballpark has the potential to reach 45,000 people.
Greater Baltimore Committee’s “Lunch with the Orioles”
In early April, Visit Sarasota County will host the annual Greater Baltimore Committee’s “Lunch with the Orioles.” It is the perfect platform for VSC to reinforce Sarasota’s “sister city” and the Orioles’ “home away from home” status in front of about 1,000 influential attendees.
In-Suite Events for Travel Trade Industry
Each summer, VSC sponsors, hosts and presents a catered pre-game event in the MASN suite at both Camden Yards and Nationals Park targeting Baltimore area travel trade industry.
Home Plate Signage
For the final two months of the regular season, VSC is featured for a half inning on high-profile signage behind home plate at Oriole Park, which is broadcast on MASN, as well as on all visiting team TV broadcasts into markets such as New York and Boston.
VSC and the Baltimore Orioles look forward to another successful year and to welcoming visitors and fans alike in 2014.
About the Baltimore Orioles
Established in 1954, the Baltimore Orioles are a professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles have been a part of the Sarasota community for more than two decades, operating an athletic training center at Twin Lakes Park since 1991. In 2009, the Orioles and Sarasota County began a 30-month construction project to renovate the training center at Twin Lakes Park and the ballpark and training center at Ed Smith Stadium to consolidate the Orioles’ Major and Minor League year round operations. Whether hosting youth activities, participating in charitable causes or partnering in efforts to boost the local economy, the Orioles are active in Sarasota County all year long, proving that their commitment to the club’s southern home goes far beyond baseball. For details, visit www.orioles.com/Sarasota.
About Sarasota County
Located on Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sarasota County offers a vibrant arts and cultural scene, a diverse array of culinary experiences and a variety of opportunities to take advantage of the clear waters and the great outdoors. Sarasota County provides the quintessential, laid-back beach getaway with numerous sprawling, white-sand beaches, including Siesta Key Beach, named “America’s Best Beach” in 2011 by Stephen Leatherman, aka, Dr. Beach. Dubbed “Home of the American Circus,” Sarasota County served as the headquarters for the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus for 75 years, and visitors can experience its unique circus heritage first-hand by following the circus trail or catching a performance by one of two local circus companies. For more information on visiting Sarasota County, visit www.visitsarasota.org or call (800) 522-9799.