In this blog, we'll share with you our conversation with Jacksonville's Jumbo Shrimp and their partnership with 121 Financial Credit Union.
You'll learn the history of the relationship and how it all came to be in our candid chat with your favorite local baseball team. You'll also learn what the team sees as some of the benefits of working with a credit union like 121.
How long have you been in partnership with 121? What made you choose 121 Financial?
“The current organization/ownership took over the team in 2015 and inherited a previous relationship with the previous ownership and 121. In the four seasons that we’ve been with the ball club here in Jacksonville, we’ve grown that relationship over the last four years. Kind of just based on … it’s kind of interesting if you just look at the two organizations. The sons at the time, ownership changed as well as a new CEO at 121 sort of came in at the same time. So, the management change shift on both sides was almost at the same time and that’s allowed us to kind of feel each other out and grow the partnership together over the last four years.”
What does that partnership look like? Can you give me an overview of your business relationship?
“It’s a multi-level partnership. Probably one of the most notable things that 121 does with us is sponsor our Saturday night fireworks show for the first half of the season. Which allowed us to increase the amount of fireworks shows at the baseball grounds, at least in this past season, we increased that number to include the first seven Saturdays of the season.
And also allowed them to be a presenting sponsor on Saturday night as well as the giveaway items. So, the number one promotion in minor league baseball is the fireworks nights, so the ability for our team to be able to add fireworks nights while keeping our costs and ticket prices at the same affordable levels is really advantageous for us. And 121 really enabled us to be able to bring more fireworks shows to our fans – which is what they’re asking for. The partnership with 121 enabled us to bring to the table more things that our fans enjoy while keeping the ticket price at an affordable price for everyone.”
What are some of the advantages of partnering with a Credit Union vs working with a bank in the area?
“The team at 121 from the top-level executives on down to the folks that we work with in the branches who do onsite appearances are easy to work with, want to be involved in the community. And something that really stands out to me is they want to provide benefits for their members as well. And that’s something that speaks to the culture we’ve created in our organization as well as in our community. So, it’s pretty cool to work with an organization that aligns very similarly with us in that aspect.”
Can you tell me about the 121 FCU Crustacean Corner? What makes it unique?
“It’s a naming rights area in our ballpark that was purchased, agreed upon to terms for this season with 121 and the jumbo shrimp, and that just again goes back to this relationship that has grown in visibility as well as partnership levels. That was something that was added this year into the partnership with 121, which is the naming rights to the crustacean corner.
It is one of the newly renovated areas in the baseball grounds of Jacksonville that is right past third base – you’re actually closer to the third baseman than the pitcher is. It’s a ticket you can buy to games, individuals can buy tickets (it’s not a group area), to the crustacean corner which includes a drink rail, an ergonomic swivel chair, and the first drink is on 121 financial in that area. And that’s included on the ticket. Again that was an opportunity for us to grow the partnership with 121 and they have a very keen interest in having a signature area within the ballpark, and we were able to come to terms prior to that for the 2019 season and we’re excited to see the growth and continued use of that area by our fans.”
Can you talk more from your perspective about the response to 121 FCU member appreciation initiatives and promotions at Jumbo Shrimp games?
“Again, as I said earlier, it’s really refreshing to see an organization that values its members, its employees, as well as the members that are doing their banking with 121. Because it’s very apparent what the management at 121 thinks of their members and wants to give them benefits and advantages.
So that being said, the member nights that we’ve had here at the ball games, I can say without a doubt have had some of the highest redemption numbers of sort of any group or organization that we work with. When I hear from 121 that ‘we want to do a member night’ and they say hey put a block of 100 tickets away, I can pretty much guarantee that all of those tickets are going to be used. And you can really tell how appreciative all the members are when they collect their tickets, and come into the ballpark, and enjoy a ball game. And that’s again, that enthusiasm, that appreciation is reflected in the amount of numbers, in the redemption, the amount of folks who show up on those nights.”
“We’ve had the opportunity to do some really fun giveaway items over the last few years. Including the Ramen noodle pillow this year. Which is a pillow that looks like a Ramen noodle pack, and 121 was the sponsor that was on that pillow as well. So again it’s working with them to come up with creative ideas as well as 121 allowing us to be creative with funny things that we do at the ballpark as well.”