The Detroit Tigers Embrace Their Community Like No Other

January 22, 2011
Detroit Tigers
by The Javelina

Some of us have seen our 401K’s disappear, others have lost their jobs, and though we may not want to admit it, even the rich have taken some hits. Granted, the impact may not be as dire as with the working class, but everything is relative.
Everyone is struggling in one-way or another. It is in times like these that we tend to look for something to keep us going. Something that doesn’t allow us give up, something that keep us moving forward as slow as the move may be. Families are now looking for more affordable ways to enjoy their time together, to take them away from the reality of the situation if not only for a couple of hours.
If you live in Detroit your in luck. I know what your saying Detroit and luck don’t really belong in the same sentence these days, however, Mike Ilitch the owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, has made a huge investment to bring those two words a lot closer together. In an article in Sport Illustrated last week titled Tiger Town I got an in depth look at some of the things the Tigers organization is doing for its community. In a time when most teams are going business as usual, Ilitch has raised his payroll, and reinvested in the franchise.
Now I know what your saying, how does that help the community? The Tigers studied the ticket buying patterns; realizing that tickets were being purchased more on a weekly basis then a monthly basis and they reacted as follows. First they offered more .00 tickets, new .00 meals at the park, and two extra .00 parking lots. I am a die-hard Yankee fan and you will not find any of those things at Yankee Stadium, or any other stadium for that matter. Ilitch and the Tigers are also offering their season ticket holders a month-to-month payment plan, and partial season ticket holders are able to choose their dates.
If that is not a testament to what Detroit as a whole and those who live and work in it mean to the Tigers organization. We have all seen the fountain over the fence in center field. You know the one, which shoots up splash of water when the Tigers hit a home run. This is the most valuable advertising area in Comerica Park, and for years has had General Motors name on it. Well at the end of last season GM could not afford to sponsor “the Fountain”. That presented an opportunity for other advertiser to take advantage of that space. There were reportedly two large corporations interested in the fountain, one offering, as much as .5 million for three years to have their name out there. Ilitch although he considered it, rejected it. He decided to keep the GM logo where it was, and added Ford and Chrysler’s name to each side with a message reading “the Detroit Tigers Support Our Automakers.”
That’s a .5million dollar loss; if this does not show the devotion this organization has towards its city, and fans I don’t know what will. Ilitch has taken a road that not many owners have, he seems to see what is going on around his city and has responded in a way that is going to let each and every person keep their heads up and move forward. We all have our motivators, our families, our jobs, and our favorite teams. When it comes to our favorite teams, when they are winning it makes a huge difference in our mindsets and helps us albeit briefly forget the hard times surrounding us.
Mike Ilitch, and the Tigers have given Detroit not only a reason to keeping moving, but also an opportunity to recover through the programs they have instituted. Will other owners in other cities take the same approach? I don’t think so, if they did would it be as meaningful as it is in Detroit? I don’t think so. Detroit has been hit extremely hard with the current economic problems; the major employers in that area have had to lay-off thousands of their loyal employees, but there is a bright light in the center of town, Comerica Park and the Detroit Tigers.
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