Monday, April 18, 2016
Best MLB "Kids Clubs" for 2016
Last year I purchased a Detroit Tigers "Kids Club" membership for my kids to help boost their interest in my favorite team since they watch a lot of the games with me on TV. We also went to Toronto to see the Tigers play last summer and while we were at the Rogers Centre picked up the Blue Jays Kids Club pack as a memento of our trip for my kids. When you think of how expensive souvenirs can be at the ballpark, the Blue Jays Kids Club pack which featured a nice baseball cap, a drawstring backpack, a metallic water bottle, and a canvass wallet was a great bargain.
Of the 30 MLB teams, 25 have kids programs to encourage children to become fans of the team and develop an interest in the sport of baseball. The programs vary from team to team in both the price charged to participate (ranging from FREE to $50) and the benefits provided, so it is important for the adult who may be purchasing a kids club membership for their child, grandchild, niece, nephew and so on to do some research before signing up to participate to make sure there is a value in your situation to participate. Some of the programs are really nice aimed to enhance the fan experience and enjoyment of the game while other Kids Clubs aren't much of a value and seem to be run as just another way to try to get a few more bucks out of a fan's wallet.
A Geek Daddy Blog has taken a look at each of the current programs offered by MLB teams and ranked the Top 5 KID CLUBS for 2016 in my opinion based upon these factors - price/value, coolness/wow factor, quality of materials/swag, special events, and branding for the program. So going from fifth place to the best we have:
5. CINCINNATI REDS - REDS HEADS
The Reds always do a stellar job with branding for their "REDS HEADS" Kids Club. They provide some great members-only experiences like free autograph sessions with the players and other special ballpark events children can participate. They also supplement their Kids Club benefits with nice freebies and discounts from sponsors that include the Cincinnati Zoo, Newport Aquarium, Bob Evans, Cincinnati Museum Center, and Coney Island among others. Normally the Reds have some of the nicest swag of all the MLB Kids Clubs but this year they are a bit lacking in my opinion though the REDS HEADS branded pillow case, sports performance shirt, gym bag and spirit cape this year's members are provided are still nice and a lot better than the merchandise provided by a lot of the other programs. If your family roots for the Reds and has children between the ages of 3 and 12 this really is a nice program to participate in.
4. ATLANTA BRAVES - BRAVES KIDS CLUB
The Brave's first baseman, Freddie Freeman is the player ambassador to their Kids Club providing a nice connection between the team and the children. Each child get a welcome letter from him and a Freddie Freeman Kids Club jersey. Kids Club members also get access to special events at the ballpark such as a VIP Batting Practice Experience, VIP access to Kids Run the Bases, a meet and greet with team mascot Homer and the tools from the Home Depot Tool Race, free face painting and a chance to to be selected to "bang the big drum" at a game among other opportunities. Plus a coupon for a FREE Chick-fil-A sandwich.
3. BALTIMORE ORIOLES - JUNIOR ORIOLES DUGOUT CLUB
The Junior Orioles Dugout Club provides each kid with a FREE ticket to each of six specially designated games and provides parents with special discounted pricing for those game day tickets. At every one of these Dugout Club games, the child also gets a special members-only giveaway item available only at that game. Each Kids Club membership also includes a Junior Orioles Dugout Club branded cap, sunglasses and messenger bag that each member received with their welcome package. Members are kept updated on team news throughout the season with a subscription to Orioles Kids Magazine.
2. LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM - JUNIOR ANGELS
Priced at $18 this is one of the better Kids Club bargains available throughout Major League Baseball. With a membership, children are provided the opportunity to attend four games for FREE, though a parent or guardian still needs purchase a ticket to attend with them. They do a nice job of branding their Kids Club merchandise with its Rally Monkey mascot. Junior Angels members receive with their membership a lunch bag, t-shirt, sweatband, and a toy featuring Rally Monkey. All members are entered into drawings throughout the season where randomly picked children receive autographed items from Angels players. The team also allows adult fans to donate money which sponsors sick children at a local children's hospital to be Junior Angels with players and coaches personally delivering those kids' membership gear to them at the medical facility throughout the year.
1. KANSAS CITY ROYALS- SLUGGERRR'S BLUE CREW
Kansas City gets top honors because in addition to free ticket vouchers and special members events and opportunities they have the nicest swag out there this year. For a reasonably priced $25, Sluggerrr's Blue Crew members receive a very nice exclusive zippered KC performance pullover, special edition KC flat bill snap back cap, a Blue Crew sports necklace and a VIP membership badge with lanyard.
We're also giving an honorable mention nod to the Arizona Diamondbacks for their NO CHEW CREW promotion this season. The team has teamed up with Delta Dental of Arizona to bring awareness to young fans about the dangers of spit tobacco.
During one game each month of the season, Delta Dental of Arizona hosts a SUNDAY SLUGGERS 30-minute show featuring a D-backs player and D. Baxter the team's bobcat mascot who discuss the dangers of using smokeless chewing tobacco. Plus any kid under the age of 15 who takes the NO CHEW PLEDGE while attending any game or by filling it out online joins the NO CHEW CREW which includes the perks of a FREE children's admission ticket to every Sunday home game this season and a FREE toothbrush.
Cheering on your favorite sporting team can be a great bonding experience for parents and kids plus a fun way to spend time together as a family. MLB Kids Clubs can be a nice way to introduce your children to the team you cheer for and encourage them to join you as a fan. What team are you rooting for this year?
Of course we've only highlighted a handful of the Kids Clubs that are available to join. Check out your favorite team and see if you like what they have to offer. For more information on the various MLB Kids Club programs available, visit mlb.mlb.com/mlb/kids/