Note: Home games are in red.
Breaking news, June 2019… As a brand The Venados has a lot of equity. The Mexicans have been cheering The Venados on since they were founded in 1942 and the team has won nine Pacific League championships. Recently, the José Antonio Toledo family bought the team from Pacifico brewery and re-booted the brand, big time. The stadium, Estadio Teodoro Mariscal [named after the original owner of the league] was remodelled which included comfortable seats – gone are the concrete benches – a dome-like canopy providing much needed shade was built, all the bathrooms were replaced and it’s now handicap accessible. The owners did not touch the time-honoured vendors who continue sell and yell and whistle their wares during the game. Of course, no one wanted to eliminate the warm-up bands, the cheerleaders and the popular mascot Venny with his hugs and happy dances.
A Mexican friend of mine who has been a Venados fan for 33 years said ” the new stadium is a 100% improvement. I like the fact that it’s easy to get in and out and to find your seats – which are finally comfortable! It’s fun, the atmosphere is like a party and if you miss a play on the field you can watch it on the Jumbotron.” This fan clearly embraced the improvements and has nothing but praise for the new owners.
As does Simon Lynds; he is the marketing director of the Venados for the international community. With a UK marketing background and as a full-time resident of Mazatlan Simon decided to ride the wave of the Venados’ enthusiasm and take the brand to Portland, Oregon. What? Why? “I’ve always seen sport [he’s a massive soccer fan] as a bridge that crosses all cultures, politics, religions and all the stumbling blocks that we are all facing today. Why not introduce Mazatlan, The Venados, to a completely different audience who share the love of baseball?”
In June 2019, Simon did just that – the Venados brand met the wood-bat college team, The Portland Pickles. The Pickles happily donned the Venados uniform, Venny met his counter -part mascot Dillon, and owners of the team ensured “the music and food had a Mexican flavor.” Majority owner of The Pickles, Alan Miller, said “we loved the energy… these guys get what an event should be. They understand atmosphere. I got hooked. After seeing the Venados I’d go to [another US] game and think, ‘this is so boring.'”
When you market the Venados you market Mazatlan. “We want to encourage Portland to come and experience all we have to offer” Lynds said. Alan Miller echoed Simon’s vision – “we want to bring some of that Venados spirit to Portland. We’re stealing ideas”, he admits. Miller goes on to say “they’ve done a phenomenal job of taking a baseball brand and building it to the point where it represents an entire city. The best teams, from the Pittsburg Steelers to the [Los Angeles] Lakers and so on, all do that.” Simon saw that opportunity months ago, he went, he conquered and is now talking to several owners in the West Coast League. This season is bound to be exciting with perhaps many guest teams wanting to join in our stadium fiesta.
If that news item doesn’t interest you, perhaps this will. With approval from the owner, Lynds has arranged that for every single game 150 children from impoverished areas will attend the home games for free. That means dump-kids, and children from the poorest areas in Mazatlan will now have the chance to see and experience a baseball game. It could easily be a game- changer for some of these kids. Could easily be a field of dreams. Dreams and hope fuel the future for these children. Go Venados! [SM]