NFL, NBA, NHL stats

Major Attraction: Inside Minor League Promotions

by Tom Ando
July 12, 2019 - Southern League (SL) - Tennessee Smokies

Tennessee Smokies Fruit Stripe Gum jerseys
Tennessee Smokies Fruit Stripe Gum jerseys
(Tennessee Smokies, Credit: Tennessee Smokies)

Yikes, Stripes, 90s Night Fun for Tennessee Smokies

Every weekend throughout the summer, it's a safe bet that there's a minor league team somewhere in the country rolling out the latest 1990s themed night with nostalgic music, menu options at the concession stands and wild on-field promotions that pay tribute to the fun decade.

The Tennessee Smokies are adding a little more flavor to their second annual 90s Night on Saturday with jerseys resembling the packaging of the decade's Fruit Stripe Gum, which proudly claimed to be the only gum with painted-on stripes with zebra-striped wrappers, which also acted as temporary tattoos. Underneath the Smokies name on the crest reads "9 Juicy Players," a spin on the gum's packaging that stated "5 Juicy Flavors."

"Last year went really well so we were like, 'Let's do it again this year' and we were just thinking outside the box, 90s types of ideas, and we knew Fruit Stripe was very popular in the 90s and one of our employees said 'Hey, what if we do a Fruit Stripe themed jersey?'" said Connor Pearce, the team's Marketing and Community Relations Manager.

"Obviously we loved how vibrant the colors are and everybody who lived in the 90s knew Fruit Stripe and chewed Fruit Stripe, so that's where the idea came from."

The team contacted Chicago based Ferrara Candy Company, and not only were they on board with the promotion, they went above and beyond to help the Cubs Double-A affiliate.

"We reached out to them for some Fruit Stripe gum that we could give away throughout the game as fans were leaving that night and put some in the fanny packs that we're giving away as well," said Pearce. "Obviously they welcomed us with open arms by sending us over 9,000 packs of gum."

In addition to the gum and aforementioned team-branded fanny packs, other fun happenings on Saturday will be the re-branding of a concession stand into a Good Burger, the restaurant in which Nickelodeon's Kenan and Kel worked; a floppy disk game; the ever popular Simba Cam; a Jurassic Park run at the end of the 6th inning that will allow kids to chase a dinosaur across the field and a 90s dance party after the game.

"Last year it kind of turned into a karaoke," laughed Pearce, "so our fans will definitely be having a lot of fun with that."

For fans looking for a keepsake even greater than the fanny pack, as if that's possible, the jerseys are available for auction online with proceeds benefiting Donate Life Tennessee.

About Tom Ando:

Tom works in Food & Beverage in the Sports Hospitality business. He enjoys the whacky and fan friendly ideas that Minor League Baseball is known for. In 2018, as Director of Food & Beverage for the Erie SeaWolves, Tom created the Cotton Candy Hot Dog that went viral and became the only known Minor League Baseball food item to ever be talked about in Tonight Show opening monologue.

Images from this story

Tennessee Smokies fanny packs and Fruit Stripe Gum
Tennessee Smokies fanny packs and Fruit Stripe Gum

(Tennessee Smokies)
Tennessee Smokies Fruit Stripe Gum jerseys
Tennessee Smokies Fruit Stripe Gum jerseys

(Tennessee Smokies)

• Discuss this story on the Southern League message board...

Southern League Stories from July 12, 2019

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.