By: Arielle Gordon
Since their inception in 2016, the Savannah Bananas have garnered attraction for their quirky antics, from an owner in a yellow tuxedo to Daisy the bat dog.
The Bananas have found yet another way to make sold-out games at nearly 100-year-old William L. Grayson Stadium a unique experience for fans. Starting this season, there will not be any advertisements. Not a single one.
“We didn’t want to become the yellow pages where we were trying to sell something nobody wanted anymore, nobody used anymore,” Jared Orton, team president, said. “That day might not be today, but in the next three years, five years, ten years, I think it’s going to continue to be a consistent struggle where teams and people are going to be selling something that isn’t useful anymore. We’re trying to get ahead of that.”
Fans will no longer see ads on the walls, in game programs or hear them during announcements. According to team president Orton, Daisy’s owner, the team’s business model has always been set up in such a way as to rely on advertising revenue to function.
The initial conversations around removing advertisements started about a year ago, but this season will be the first ad-free one.
Once the team decided to remove advertisements, they had to tell people. That started with advertisers and resulted in some awkward conversations, but Orton says many are still working with the Bananas in other ways.
“Our conversation with them was, ‘in our opinion, the future of advertising is not at your local baseball stadium,’” Orton said. “What we realized was that we as a business would not spend the money that we were asking these companies to spend if we were in their shoes.”
The Bananas will also maintain their all-you-can-eat tickets, free shipping, free parking, and no service fee policies.
Some of the changes fans can expect when they attend a game this season include a mural on the left field wall that will contain a timeline of teams and events at Grayson Stadium since 1926. As a part of the Bananas’ fans-first commitment, before and after games fans will be able to go on to the field and sign the right field wall.
“We have definitely gotten a slew of positive responses, specifically from fans just saying ‘this is cool, this is fans first, this is why I love the Bananas,’” Orton said.
The Bananas will start their 2020 campaign at home on May 28 when they host the Macon Bacon.