Oklahoma City Barons: Fans beginning to realize Barons really do give away cars at Saturday home games

Oklahoma City's AHL franchise averages 4,228 fans on car giveaway night, which is an attendance improvement over non-giveaway home games.
by Michael Baldwin Published: November 5, 2012
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photo - AHL HOCKEY / PLAYOFFS: Barons' mascot, Derrick, interacts with the crowd during a game between the Oklahoma City Barons and the Toronto Marlies at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Friday, May 18, 2012.  Photo by Garett Fisbeck, For The Oklahoman
AHL HOCKEY / PLAYOFFS: Barons' mascot, Derrick, interacts with the crowd during a game between the Oklahoma City Barons and the Toronto Marlies at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Friday, May 18, 2012. Photo by Garett Fisbeck, For The Oklahoman

Mitchell, who has been in charge of high school and junior high bands and choirs for three decades in Deer Creek, Oklahoma City and McCurtain County, was an online drawing winner. He won by guessing closest the total fluid ounces of Dr Pepper cans in the truck bed.

“My honor choir kids sing there almost every year. I thought that's why they called,” he said of the Barons. “Instead, it was a P.R. person who told me my name had been drawn and to come to the game. Then I won. It was unbelievable.”

Cooley, 55, is a longtime hockey fan who attends a few games every season. Little did he know he would win a Dodge Challenger, which has created a buzz everywhere he goes.

“I've always wanted one of those cars. It was a dream come true,” Cooley said. “When people drive by, they give me a thumbs up or a smile. They love it. A couple dozen people a day ask about it.”

“I hope this helps their attendance. The quality of play is fantastic at the Triple-A level. It's a lot of fun to go to those games. If more people would go I think they'd get hooked.”

The life of the Barons' vehicle wrap logo is about two years. Cooley plans to keep his logo on past the one year commitment. Mitchell said he'll do whatever the Barons recommend on the one-year anniversary.

“If it lasted a long time I wouldn't mind leaving it on,” Cooley said. “It's colorful. It's not so bright that it looks intrusive or gaudy. They've done a real good job with these (logo) wraps.

Friends at church and school have spotted Mitchell in a new Barons television commercial. He's on the Barons Facebook page and YouTube link.

“I know they don't have the draw the Thunder does, so they're trying something different,” Mitchell said. “I feel so lucky, so fortunate.”

If nothing else, Funk's strategy is unique.

“No. 1, we want to reward our fan base,” Funk said. “No. 2, we wanted to try a different method of marketing to get people in the doors. Thirdly, what could we do different that nobody's ever done before? Whether it works or not, let's have a little fun with it. Sports are supposed to be fun.

“If it doesn't work, next year maybe we'll try something different.”


by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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