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Beyond the Bricks: Southern Ohio Copperheads student team travels to Canada, shares game day operations experience

Tuesday, August 28 2018 10:00am

Canadian baseball team consults OHIO students to enhance fan engagement

By Meghan Morris

More goes into preparing for a baseball game than just training the team. Fans need to be aware of ticket sales and entertained throughout the entire game. That's why the Southern Ohio Copperheads utilize Ohio University students to keep the team functioning on and off the field. More teams are now adapting to this hands-on learning opportunity.

The Southern Ohio Copperheads, a summer collegiate baseball team based in Athens, OH, involves more students in its internal operations than any other team in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. More than 40 undergraduate students work as directors and game-day staff in operations such as ticketing, corporate partnership, marketing and more. In 2017, the Copperheads had one of the highest attendance records in the league with over $30,000 in ticket sales.

“I think it’s such a great learning opportunity for students, especially when you’re put in that director position where you get to make decisions,” Marco Rodriguez, director of special projects for the Southern Ohio Copperheads, said. “We’re all students just trying to see what we can do better.”

Another team within the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League was inspired by the students’ involvement with the Copperheads and reached out to seek advice on their operations. The general manager of the St. Clair Green Giants wanted to bring in Copperheads student leaders to share best practices with his staff as the team has only been in the league for two years. 

Copperheads directors traveled to Canada to connect with the Green Giants leadership. Rodriguez was curious to learn more about the team’s in-game promotions, marketing strategies, and fan turnout.

Both teams emphasize fan experience and the Copperheads introduced one of their popular in-game promotions to the team with a twist. During home games, the Copperheads promote their sponsorship with Ambassador Laundry by having two young fans race on the field while putting on an entire baseball uniform piece by piece and run to the Copperheads mascot, Homer, to win.

“We showed them how the promotion worked," Rodriguez said. "We had one fan with a dress in a Copperheads jersey and one with a Green Giants jersey."

Besides working the games together, most of the trip was spent forming new friendships. The students leaders from both teams engaged in a rousing game of footgolf and even visited a grocery store to buy Canadian foods, Stephen Archibald, a sponsorship and ticketing intern for the St. Clair Green Giants, said.

"Many American fans travel to Canada to see their teams play the St. Clair Green Giants," Archibald said. "But it was even more fun to have students who wanted to help out with game day. They showed enthusiasm and wanted to get as involved as they could with our operations." 

Learn more about the sport management major at OHIO.