RiverDogs Capture Prestigious Larry MacPhail Award

Charleston RiverdogsPRESS RELEASE – Minor League Baseball announced on Tuesday that the Charleston RiverDogs are the winners of the 48th annual Larry MacPhail Award, symbolizing the top promotional effort in all of Minor League Baseball. The RiverDogs will receive their award at the Baseball Winter Meeting Banquet at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, Dec. 12.

Charleston RiverDogs MacPhail Award“The Charleston RiverDogs have been one of the clubs at the forefront of creating and developing fun, new ways to promote themselves at their ballpark and in their community through such campaigns as ‘Be Your Own Fan’ and ‘Fun Is Good’,” said Pat O’Conner, President & CEO of Minor League Baseball.

“Their involvement with the Charleston RBI Program and the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame are just two of the many ways that the RiverDogs also promote our great game in the South Carolina Lowcountry,” he added.

“On behalf of the entire Charleston RiverDogs family, we are thrilled to receive this prestigious honor,” said Dave Echols, the RiverDogs Executive Vice President & General Manager. “The MacPhail Award is one of the most recognizable awards bestowed in professional baseball. This citation is a credit to our ownership group – The Goldklang Group – whose guidance and direction are for us to make sure that our fans enjoy what has become the ‘RiverDogs experience.’ We accept this with great pride and humility, as we strive to share the philosophy of ‘Fun Is Good.'”

The RiverDogs, who also won the MacPhail Award in 1998, join Hawaii (1969, 1970), Reading (1994, 1999), Richmond (1985, 1990) and Rochester (1967, 1997) as clubs which have won this award two times.

This season, Charleston added to its already packed promotional schedule and ballpark experience with several additions which contributed to double digit increases in both overall (11.5 percent) and average (13.2 percent) attendance, compared to 2012. The South Atlantic League club introduced several new menu items, including three flavors of beer shakes, a Wacko Taco Stand with locally grown farm fresh vegetables, gluten-free beer and snacks and a peanut butter and jelly jalapeno bacon burger.

The club’s “Healthy Challenge Tuesday” promotion included elements about living a healthier lifestyle. The RiverDogs teamed with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Wellness Center and created a new line of healthy concessions options available throughout the season, many made from crops grown on the MUSC Urban Farm located in downtown Charleston. Each Tuesday game featured a different item from these new healthy selections and the item was offered to fans at a discounted rate.

Additionally, RiverDogs co-owner Bill Murray’s South Atlantic League Hall of Fame induction speech was used as the cornerstone for the club’s early season TV commercials. Charleston is extremely active on social media, with more than 22,000 Facebook fans and 11,000 Twitter followers, as well as Pinterest, Instagram and Vine accounts to connect and hear feedback from their fans.

Charleston’s marketing slogan of “Be Your Own Fan” is based primarily on direct interaction with its fans. The RiverDogs listened to them and moved up the start time for their Saturday games one hour to 6:05 p.m.

All 10 of their Monday home games featured a local non-profit organization and a season ticket holder was featured at every home game. All Peninsula youth baseball teams were outfitted in RiverDogs T-shirts for their uniforms, saving the city parks and recreation department more than $10,000. A youth baseball T-shirt promotion allowed players to receive discounts by wearing the shirts to games.

Other community initiatives included the club’s signature charity, Kindness Beats Blindness, which benefits MUSC, Storm Eye Institute, and which has raised more than $250,000 over the past decade; Reading and Running With the RiverDogs, in which a staff member adopts a local third grade class; and the Charleston RBI Program, a local chapter of Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities Program.

Past Larry MacPhail Award Winners

1966 Spartanburg, Western Carolinas

1967 Rochester, International

1968 Cocoa, Florida State

1969 Hawaii, Pacific Coast

1970 Wichita, A.A./Hawaii, PCL (Tie)

1971 Oklahoma City, American Association

1972 San Antonio, Texas

1973 Tucson, Pacific Coast

1974 West Palm Beach, Florida State

1975 Tacoma, Pacific Coast

1976 El Paso, Texas/Cedar Rapids, Midwest (Tie)

1977 Columbus, OH, International

1978 Nashville, Southern

1979 Columbus, OH, International

1980 Nashville, Southern

1981 Nashville, Southern

1982 El Paso, Texas

1983 Arkansas, Texas

1984 Columbus, OH, INT/Billings, Pioneer (Tie)

1985 Richmond, International

1986 Iowa, American Association

1987 Albuquerque, Pacific Coast

1988 Birmingham, Southern

1989 Buffalo, American Association

1990 Richmond, International

1991 Salt Lake City, Pioneer

1992 Ft. Myers, Florida State

1993 El Paso, Texas

1994 Reading, Eastern

1995 Kane County, Midwest

1996 Wilmington, Carolina

1997 Rochester, International

1998 Charleston (SC), South Atlantic

1999 Reading, Eastern

2000 Lowell, New York-Penn

2001 Tennessee, Southern

2002 Lakewood, South Atlantic

2003 Trenton, Eastern

2004 Altoona, Eastern

2005 Brevard County, Florida State

2006 Round Rock, Pacific Coast

2007 West Michigan, Midwest

2008 Ogden, Pioneer

2009 Chattanooga, Southern

2010 New Hampshire, Eastern

2011 Lake Elsinore, California

2012 Wisconsin, Midwest League

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