Agriculture is integrated in every aspect of our lives, from food to clothing and even sports. Our Got To Be NC team capitalizes on this widespread view of agriculture every year by partnering with local baseball teams to market and promote local products. “Since 2007, local baseball sponsorships have been a part of the Got To Be NC program,” said Tim Parrish, Domestic Marketing Manager for the NCDA&CS. “Baseball is an American pastime and is part of the fabric of many communities. We see agriculture in a similar light, so this partnership allows us to marry the two in a mutually beneficial way.” This year, our Got To Be NC program sponsored the Down East Wood Ducks baseball team in Kinston.
The Got To Be NC program serves the agriculture industry of our state by providing marketing and business development support to the food and fiber sectors that aim to boost sales and expand markets through engagement, education and promotions of local products. “Our membership program currently consists of almost 2,100 individuals,” Tim said. “Our focus is market expansion and business development to reach the retail and wholesale foodservice sectors.” Overall, the intent of the program is to constantly evaluate and promote N.C. sourced products that prove quality investments for retailers and restaurants.
So where does baseball fit in? “Sponsorships with local baseball companies were chosen as a part of our marketing outreach for several reasons,” said Tim. “Not only can these teams develop very creative promotions for N.C. Agriculture and get them in front of a wide and unique audience, but the partnership itself also creates opportunities for our member companies to pitch their products to the stadium operators for consideration in the concession stand.” Steven’s Sausage Company is one Got To Be NC member who has taken advantage of the opportunity this year. You can try one of their hot dogs at a Down East Wood Ducks game this season! “Our goal is to engage the operators of each minor league team to THINK about North Carolina food products when making choices for their food service operations,” Tim said, “but we leave all decisions up to stadium management so that they can evaluate products that work for their specific operation and offerings.”
Each year, the Got To Be NC team reviews proposals sent in by local baseball teams to determine sponsorship opportunities. Teams are chosen based on a variety of factors, including budget and location. “Sometimes it is as simple as the timing of the request that came in or how our budgets are looking over all,” said Tim. “Other times we are seeking to target a specific area of the state so that we fully represent and promote N.C. products from the mountains to the coast.”
Teams that would like to get involved and be considered for a seasonal sponsorship from the Got To Be NC program should contact Tim Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and develop a sponsorship proposal. “I expect minor league baseball will continue to be a small part of our overall marketing plan, so I encourage teams to continue applying for sponsorships each year,” Tim said. “We are proud to help promote member products and N.C. agriculture as a whole to a wider audience through these games while at the same time supporting one of the most widely loved sports in our state.”
Check out the Down East Wood Ducks schedule on their website to attend a game this year and be sure to support our Got To Be NC members through products available at the concession stand and other retailers throughout the state!