Front Office Fridays

Joel Zawacki

Joel Zawacki

Director of Corporate Sales and Marketing

Fast Facts:

  • 8th year with Indianapolis Indians
  • 9th year in Professional Sports
  • Was named after Tom Cruise’s character “Joel Goodson” from the movie Risky Business

“Everyday is different. Whether it’s the opportunity to work with a new partner or implement a new promotion or project, very rarely are two days ever the same.”

Corporate Sales & Marketing Offseason:

Identify New Forms of Revenue

The marketing department’s offseason is particularly busy with analyzing data, information and fan feedback from in-park surveys. They use the gathered information to help create a marketing and promotional plan for the next year, which in-turn, hopes to both generate buzz among fans and increase the Indian’s attendance levels to create a higher revenue for the ball club.

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Joel Says:
“Some of the questions that we’ll ask as a part of our in-park surveys are geared towards the fans: ‘What promotions did you enjoy the most?’ for example.”


Promotional Calendar

Zawacki admitted it can be challenging to create a different promotional calendar from year to year. To meet the demand, the Indians marketing team constantly looks for ways to add new surprises to their entertainment schedule each season, while still providing fan-favorite promotions such as Kids Eat Free Sundays. This year, Zawacki hinted, fans can be on the lookout for former Major League stars and new entertainment acts at Victory Field throughout the season!

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Joel says:
“We really do thrive on consistently delivering a high-quality product to our fans. When we’re at conferences, like the Winter Meetings, we’ll survey and get a feel for what other organizations are doing for promotions. There’s a ton of resources out there for us and we try to incorporate as much as possible into our promo calendar.”


Coordinate Broadcasting Promotions

The Indians feature a full schedule of live, cable broadcasts for each home game during the season, including televised contests on HTSN (HomeTown Sports & News) and ABC’s local affiliate, RTV6. In preparation for the season’s broadcasts, Zawacki and the marketing department also work in unison with WRTV to schedule possible dates for prime-time games and create a promotional calendar that highlights the Tribe’s regularly-scheduled broadcasts.

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Joel says:
“We sit down with their director of audience development and we’ll look at their programming schedule and identify available dates for broadcasts. We had a prime-time game last year and we’re hoping to get a couple of those for the upcoming season.”


Creating Advertising Campaigns

In terms of advertising, the Indians marketing department works hand-in-hand with both Optimedia and Borschoff, both of which are entering their first year of partnership with the Tribe. The three companies work together to develop concepts and ideas to help further the efforts of the Indians’ marketing campaign.

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Joel Says:
“We want to make sure that the campaign as a whole meshes together.  It’s an interesting process and we’re already impressed with the media portion of this year’s campaign.”


Mutually Beneficial Community Partnerships

The Indians’ marketing department is always looking to partner with local businesses to help further the “family-friendly” culture at Victory Field. The Tribe and its partners aim to build advertising and promotional campaigns that generate an engaging experience for Indians fans in hopes that both companies reach their respective goals of happy, engaged consumers or fans.


Joel says:
“Yes, the revenue is important for us, but at the end of the day we’re really just trying to create something that the fans will enjoy, because that’s when we’re most successful. The Indians have the best fans in baseball and we want to show our appreciation in as many ways as possible when they come to the ballpark.”

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