Visit Sarasota County and Baltimore Orioles Partner Again for a Record-Breaking Year
SARASOTA, Fla. (May 7, 2015) – The multi-platform marketing partnership between Visit Sarasota County and the Baltimore Orioles continues to pay off as tourists from the Washington DC/Baltimore area came in record numbers to Sarasota County this past winter. The surge catapulted the Mid-Atlantic region to the top of the charts for Sarasota’s origin-of-visitor cities – a rank held for several years by New York City.
Nearly 26,000 visitors from the Mid-Atlantic region came to Sarasota County from January through March 2015, according to a Visit Sarasota County (VSC) analysis. This represents an increase of 128% over the same period in 2014, when approximately 11,000 visitors from Washington DC/Baltimore came to Sarasota County.
“The sustained investment from our partnership with the Baltimore Orioles has really paid off,” says Virginia Haley, President of VSC. “This performance in the Mid-Atlantic region shows the benefits of the Orioles providing more than a million dollars of advertising and promotion annually in the DC/Baltimore area each of the last six years. It is great to see it be this successful.”
The year-round partnership – the only one of its kind in Major League Baseball – allows both organizations to use their strengths and significant assets to spread the message about the Orioles’ activities on and off the field and Sarasota County’s beaches, culture, dining, and more to target audiences. 2015 marks the sixth year of an estimated $1 million annual marketing partnership between the Orioles and VSC.
“The breadth and economic impact of the marketing partnership between VSC and the Orioles continues to be unprecedented in Major League Baseball,” said Greg Bader, Vice President of Communications and Marketing for the Orioles. “Our goal has always been to bring visitors from the Mid-Atlantic region to the greater Sarasota area, but we never imagined they would so quickly constitute the largest number of visitors to the region during the winter months.”
This spring, the Orioles also set a franchise record in average attendance per game, drawing a total of more than 110,000 fans for the season. To date, more than half a million fans have enjoyed Orioles spring training games at Ed Smith Stadium, and another 25,000 participants and spectators annually visit the Orioles facilities for baseball clinics, youth sports leagues, tournaments, and other events. As a result, the Orioles’ annual economic impact in the Sarasota area is more than $59 million, according to a 2014 analysis by Sarasota County Government.
Among the most innovative marketing elements of the partnership is the activation of the team’s powerful multimedia assets. This year, MASN, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and television home of the Orioles, aired seven spring training games from Ed Smith Stadium to seven million homes throughout a six-state region. The Major League Baseball (MLB) Network, which reaches more than 70-million households, also aired six MASN-produced spring training games from Sarasota, as well as seven additional spring training road games to a national audience.
Additionally, the 35-station Orioles Radio Network, led by Baltimore flagship station CBS RADIO 105.7 The Fan (a 50,000-watt station covering Maryland and neighboring states), broadcasted 14 spring training games, eight of which were played in Sarasota.
VSC advertising was also featured prominently in all Orioles publications, including four issues of the game program (one in Sarasota and three in Baltimore), as well as the Orioles Team Yearbook, with each edition reaching more than 15,000 readers. VSC advertisements are printed on the back of more than 200,000 regular season pocket schedules that are distributed throughout the Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC areas. MASNsports.com, a premiere online destination for Orioles fans, also provides a rich environment for targeted VSC advertising. Together, these multiplatform assets provide a true 360-degree opportunity for VSC to reach Orioles fans throughout the year.
The successful partnership also includes innovative, year-round promotion in Sarasota and Baltimore. These efforts include a VSC Visitor Information Center at Ed Smith Stadium, the team’s annual FanFest celebration in Baltimore, complimentary spring training tickets for Orioles Season Plan Members, a Visit Sarasota County Day at Oriole Park, suite events for Baltimore travel trade industry representatives, signage behind home plate for the final two months of the regular season, and the annual Greater Baltimore Committee’s “Reception with the Orioles” each April.
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.
Visit Sarasota County
1777 Main Street, Suite 302
Sarasota, FL 34236