(Nationals)
(Nationals)

Wizards fans will no longer be the only local sportsgoers with a chance to win free chicken sandwiches. The Nats recently signed a three-year promotional partnership with Chick-fil-A; the deal will allow Nats ticketholders to get a free chicken sandwich every time the team records a save at home.

The chicken chain, of course, has gotten oodles of publicity for its Wizards deal, in which fans can get free sandwiches if an opponent misses both free throws during a fourth-quarter trip to the foul line. This has traditionally made local fans very, very excited.

So the chicken company and the Nats attempted to find a similar baseball-themed promotion, something that happens rarely enough that it will still make people happy, but frequently enough that it will still send bodies into restaurants. They considered more obscure options — picking an inning, and activating the free sandwich deal every time the Nats steal a base in that inning, for example. But they ultimately settled on the home saves; after a save, fans will be able to use either their planholder card or their game ticket to get the free food.

Of course, this could require the Nats to educate fans on the exact definition of a save; the save rules will likely run inside the ballpark at some point, especially early in the season. It also means the chicken cheering might sometimes be overlooked, since presumably fans will also be cheering for the home team’s victories, which will be clinched simultaneously. But I guess well-trained ears will be able to differentiate which parts of the cheers concern chicken.

Chick-fil-A also will occasionally bring postgame snacks for players, as they’ve done with the Wizards, and will do some product sampling inside the stadium, although there won’t be a concession option yet. And there will be new bullpen Chick-fil-A signage, which ultimately will include three-dimensional molded cows threatening to charge the mound. (See above.)

The Nats will also continue their promotion with McDonald’s which launched last year. Any time the club scores six runs in a game, fans using the restaurant’s app will get a coupon for free nuggets.

The club isn’t guaranteed to win the World Series, but it seems certain to generate lots of free chicken opportunities.