A “Priceless” PR Moment

Season tickets to the New York Yankees, $62,000. Three bats, three balls and two jerseys signed by Derek Jeter, $4,200. Catching the home-run ball from Jeter’s 3,000th hit, priceless.

Well, maybe not completely priceless. The now infamous ball is estimated to be worth $250,000.
Even more shocking than the price of the ball is the story about the man who caught it. Christian Lopez, a 23-year-old mobile phone salesman, caught the ball at Saturday’s game and then promptly gave it back to Jeter — quoted as saying that being a part of that historic moment meant more to him than cashing out.

Christian Lopez and Derek JeterDon’t worry, Lopez won’t be walking away empty handed, the young Yankees fan was given handfuls of free merchandise, tickets and $50,000 toward the elimination of his student loan debt, courtesy of the Yankees’ chief sponsor, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Inc. In fact Lopez will be receiving five percent of the sponsor’s Yankees merchandise sales from today through July 19th.

So why inundate this “Good Samaritan” will all this “good will”? Because all of these initiatives have the potential for PR longevity, keeping the Yankees brand in front of the consumers’ mind until the buzz around Lopez’s good deed dies down.

The news coverage of the whole event – from the build up to Jeter’s career milestone to Lopez’s shocking decision to give back instead of cash out – have been great for the Yankees. And by the unexpected twist of events, the Yankees are in the middle of a story that people are connecting to and care about–especially in press beyond the sports section.

What Lopez did was truly unique- not many people would give away a quarter-million dollars because they “thought it was the right thing to do.” And the Yankees know that he is a valuable press asset…one that they hope will lead to continued good press.

Posted on July 15, 2011, in DiGennaro Communications and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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