The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Nats promotional schedule includes Star Wars day, a Anthony Rendon gnome and a Jayson Werth chia-beard

The 2014 gnome lines. (Via the Nationals)

The Nats released their 2015 promotional schedule Friday afternoon, a calendar highlighted by the franchise’s first Star Wars day, an Anthony Rendon gnome, a tribute to Frank Robinson and a Jayson Werth Chia Pet whose face will sprout actual green chia-stuff.

The schedule includes more than 20 giveaway dates, an increase from past years based in part on the franchise’s 10th anniversary celebrations, which will include 13 10th-anniversary themed collectibles. To accommodate the ramped-up giveaways schedule, the team “had to draw down some spending in other areas,” including postgame concerts, according to Valerie Camillo, the chief revenue and  marketing officer. Future seasons will probably not include such an emphasis on collectibles.

The team is also introducing themed dates, which have been popular in other markets. The five themes this season will include Star Wars day, pets day, Virginia/Virginia Tech college rivalry day, 1980s night and ladies night. The themes will be reflected on the scoreboard and concourses and possibly in the broadcast booth and concession stands (think Wookie Wookiee Cookies, for example), but there will also be limited seating areas specifically related to the themes, with special promotional items. (The team is making its first players pets calendar, which will be given away to the first 10,000 fans on pets day.) The team also plans to solicit further suggestions for the theme nights from fans.

In May, the franchise will honor first Washington manager Frank Robinson, putting his name in the ring of honor and inviting back several of his former players.

The most attention, though, will be given to the Rendon gnome and the Werth Chia thing. The former was inevitable after the popularity of last year’s Werth gnome; the latter was thrown out at a staff brainstorming meeting, where it was immediately embraced. The Werth giveaway will actually be Chia Pet-branded, and figures to be among the most desired of promotional items.

“The gnome was so fantastic, and we felt like we had to push the envelope,” Camillo said. “We were just thinking of something creative that people would get into. and Jayson is such a personality and lends himself so well to this sort of promotional fun, probably better than the average player….The first time that was mentioned, it was like ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ Then it was a matter of please don’t let it be too expensive.”

Were there concerns about promoting Werth after his offseason legal travails?

“No,” Camillo said immediately. “He’s a fan favorite.”

Rendon, meanwhile, was chosen for the gnome because he had not been the focus of a previous promotion, because the phonics of his last name work, and because his face sort of lends itself to being gnomified, which is true.

Other new developments include:

College-themed gear

Through its preexisting partnership with Majestic, the team will start making Curly W-branded merchandise in the colors of several local colleges. The Nats, of course, cannot use the marks of these schools, but there will be Nats logos on maroon and orange gear for Virginia Tech fans, for example.

In addition to Virginia Tech, the Nats will sell their gear in the colors of Virginia, Maryland, Georgetown, George Mason, George Washington, American and the Naval Academy. Those items will be sold throughout the season.

New concessions

It’s still early in the process but the team has several new food concepts in the works, including a grilled cheese stand whose working name is “Throwing Cheese.” That stand will have standard and sophisticated grilled cheese, and will also likely have different types of mac ‘n’ cheese.

The team is also in talks with a prominent Washington celebrity chef, and is hoping to have a Virginia-themed food stand, to complement last year’s popular crab-themed concessions. (Nothing is set yet, but the Virginia foods could include things like ham biscuits or Virginia peanuts.)

Fireworks

After holding three fireworks events in 2014, the team has already scheduled two in 2015, with more still possible.

Norfolk Southern Club

The premium seating area will feature a suspended, operational train, which will run the perimeter of the room on game days. There will also be a new train-themed and Nationals-branded scoreboard in the club, which will be synced to the action on the field.

Here’s a list of the dates for the themed nights and promotional giveaways; see the Nats’ Web site for more details.

April 6: Commemorative collectors tin for the first 25,000 fans

April 8: Rally towel for all fans

April 21: 10-year Tuesday stationary set and pen for the first 10,000 fans

May 4: Great Moments Livan Hernandez inaugural game bobblehead for the first 25,000 fans

May 5: 10-year Tuesday bottle stopper for the first 10,000 fans

May 9: 10th anniversary day, featuring Frank Robinson

May 19: Tote bag for the first 25,000 fans

May 24: 10th anniversary poster for the first 10,000 fans

June 2: 10-year Tuesday commemorative coin for the first 10,000 fans

June 4: Great Moments Ryan Zimmerman Nats Park walk-off bobblehead for the first 25,000 fans

June 18: Ladies night

June 19: Pilsner cup for the first 15,000 fans ages 21 and up

June 24: Virginia vs. Virginia Tech college rivalry day

July 3: Freedom Fireworks

July 5: Great Moments Stephen Strasburg debut bobblehead for the first 25,000 fans

July 7: 10-year Tuesday lapel pin for the first 10,000 fans

July 19: Star Wars Day

Aug. 4: 10-year Tuesday replica 2005 ticket for the first 10,000 fans

Aug. 5: Jayson Werth Chia Pet for the first 20,000 fans

Aug. 7: Freedom Fireworks

Aug. 21: Cap for the first 15,000 fans ages 21 and up

Aug. 25: Anthony Rendon garden gnome for the first 25,000 fans

Aug. 27: Pets day, featuring player pet calendars for the first 10,000 fans

Aug. 29: ’80s night

Aug. 30: Great Moments Jayson Werth Game 4 walk-off bobblehead for the first 25,000 fans

Sept. 3: 10th anniversary nesting dolls for the first 20,000 fans

Sept. 8: 10-year Tuesday 2005 mini lineup card for the first 10,000 fans

Sept. 25: Great Moments Jordan Zimmermann no-hitter bobblehead for the first 25,000 fans

Sept. 27: Gloves for the first 25,000 fans

Loading...