The Seattle Mariners today announced a series of new initiatives designed to engage kids across the Northwest with the game of baseball through a multi-year campaign known as "Junior Mariners." The program encompasses all existing Mariners kids-related efforts along with the new initiatives. Mariners.com/Kids will serve as a one-stop clearinghouse for all Junior Mariners information.
During this inaugural year, Junior Mariners will focus on four areas:
- Encouraging kids to play baseball;
- Connecting kids throughout the region to Mariners Baseball;
- Enhancing their ballpark experience;
- Making it affordable for families to attend games at Safeco Field.
Junior Mariners Wiffle® Ball
The most visible element of the campaign to engage kids is a white plastic ball. During 2016, the Mariners will give away 100,000 Junior Mariners-branded Wiffle® Balls to kids across the region at schools, hospitals, Boys & Girls Clubs, community parks and playfields and various other locations and events throughout the year. The goal is to put baseballs in the hands of as many kids as possible and get them to play-even if they are not part of an organized team.
Free Mariners Kids Club
For the first time, the Mariners Kids Club is free and registration is available online at Mariners.com/Kids.
"The Mariners have one of the largest geographic territories in baseball. Creating the free Kids Club, and making registration available online, should make it possible for us to reach even more young Mariners fans across the Northwest," said Gregg Greene, Mariners Sr. Director of Marketing.
Kids Club members will receive a welcome packet, mailed updates, special ticket offers and a birthday postcard from Nelson Cruz. When Kids Club members visit Safeco Field for the first time, they can drop by a Kids Club Kiosk (at Sections 190 and 329) and pick up their official Kids Club photo I.D. badge, Junior Mariners Wiffle Ball and drawstring backpack.
There is also an MVP Kids Club membership for $19.95 (plus handling) that has everything included in the free membership, plus additional features such as Mariners gear and access to MVP members-only experiences like player autograph sessions.
Little League & Youth Baseball Registration
The Mariners recently launched a pilot project to boost youth baseball/softball player registrations for 2016. Four Little Leagues were chosen-Seattle Central, Rainier District, Snoqualmie Valley and Everett-for a multi-pronged campaign to provide parents with information about how to sign up their kids for baseball.
"There are a lot of parents who might want their kids to play baseball or softball, but they don't know where to start. The Seattle Mariners have a lot of resources we can mobilize to target parents with the information they need, when they need it, so we can grow the game of baseball," said Greene.
Outreach efforts include paid advertisements in media targeted at parents, Mariners social media accounts, radio and TV public service announcements and mentions during Mariners Spring Training game broadcasts. The Mariner Moose also visited 14 schools within the boundaries of the four pilot Little Leagues, reaching over 10,000 kids with information on Little League and Youth Baseball.
Parents can also search Mariners.com/Kids to find their local Little League boundaries and locate other nearby organized baseball/softball opportunities.
These efforts parallel Major League Baseball's collaboration with USA Baseball (PlayBall.org) that serves as a clearinghouse of information and resources for parents, players, coaches and others involved in organized baseball and softball.
New Kids Activities at Safeco Field
A new Kids Corner play area on the View Level (directly above the Home Plate Gate entrance) will feature a variety of activities for young fans:
- RBI Sprint lets kids time how fast they can run from home plate to first base;
- Strike Zone pitching accuracy;
- Swing Away hitting stations;
- Photo zones with player and Moose cutouts;
- Replica outfield wall where kids can pretend to take a home run away from an opposing hitter;
- Special activities on select games such as music, face painters and other entertainment.
The Mariner Moose will stop by the Kids Corner for visits, and there will be access to food and beverages and plenty of TV monitors so parents can follow the game while keeping an eye on their children.
The existing Children's Hospital Play Area will continue to be located on the Main Concourse near the Center Field Bleachers.
Affordable Family Fun
The Mariners continue to offer a variety of ticket specials that make Mariners baseball an affordable family entertainment option.
- BECU Family Nights and Safeco Insurance Grand Slam Family Packages provide low prices for select games throughout the season. Family Night tickets start at $12, and Grand Slam Family Packages include a hot dog and Pepsi with each discounted ticket.
- Special prices for youth-focused groups like Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, day camps, schools, Little League and Youth Baseball, etc.
Mariners Kids Initiatives
The Junior Mariners initiatives are in addition to on-going Mariners programs that focus on children and families. Highlights include:
- Sponsor RBI League teams that make baseball and softball available to low-income and at-risk youth free of charge.
- Pitch, Hit & Run baseball skills competition.
- Partnership with Seattle middle schools to encourage students to join the "Five for Life" fitness program with complimentary tickets to all qualifying participants.
- 50,000 free tickets to Boys & Girls Clubs and other non-profit organizations.
- Moose D.R.E.A.M. Team Assemblies educate students about the importance of the D.R.E.A.M. principles: Drug-free, Respect for yourself and others, Education through reading, Attitude, and Motivation to achieve your dreams.
- Holland America Line Get Well Tour visits by Mariners players to children's hospitals around the region.
- Mariners Caravan three-week tour of Washington, Oregon and Idaho that features free autograph sessions and visits to schools and Boys & Girls Clubs with players, broadcasters and the Moose.