MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (NOVEMBER5, 2014) - On Wednesday, Ballpark Digest continued its announcement of the yearly awards, recognizing the Myrtle Beach Pelicans' Prostate Cancer Awareness Night as the Promotion of the Year.
Prostate Cancer Awareness night made local, regional, and national headlines when the Pelicans Vice President and General Manager Andy Milovich accepted a challenge to receive an in-game prostate exam while singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the team's game on July 24. After being jokingly challenged by Dave Priest and Liz Callaway on WRNN Hot Talk 99.5, Milovich later agreed to the exam if the "Fierce Fallon" Facebook Page had to reach 10,000 'Likes' by the day of the game.
Fallon Emery, for whom the page is named, is a ten-year-old Carolina Forrest native battling brain cancer. The promotion and support of Fallon went viral, and the page blew past the 10,000 'Likes' goal nearly three days before the game.
Media coverage of the promotion leading up to the night and following the game included national outlets such as ESPN, The Today Show, CNN Morning Express, Sports Illustrated, New York Post, The Washington Post, NBC Sports, Deadspin.com, Fox Sports Southwest, MLB Network, and Orlando Sentinel. The Daily Mail in London, England picked up the story, and Milovich was interviewed by radio shows across the country and even north of the border in Toronto, Canada.
On the night of the game, the Pelicans passed out 1,000 "Prostate Exam Reminders," foam fingers with a ribbon reminder attached. Milovich conducted on-air interviews with Pelicans Radio Broadcaster Nathan Barnett before and after the exam and sang to the fans in the park and the radio audience during the seventh inning stretch.
"Turning Prostate Cancer Awareness Night into something that garnered nationwide headlines and raised money for a worthy cause is quite the feat," said Kevin Reichard, Ballpark Digest publisher. "By pushing fans to support a local kid with medical challenges of her own and then turning it into a major event makes this a truly noteworthy promotion."
"Prostate Cancer Awareness Night was an unbelievable experience that originated from a joke during a weekly radio appearance," said Milovich. "Thanks to the power of social media, it generated international awareness for an incredibly important men's health issue in less than a week.
"Fallon Emery is an incredibly special girl that means a lot to me and our community. Tying this promotion into a way to help her was very important to me because of my family's relationship with her," Milovich said. "To hear her say 'This was the greatest day of my life' after our Coaches vs. Cancer Night to benefit her speaks to the power of sports and the obligation we all share to benefit our communities."
Besides raising $6,500 for Fallon Emery, the promo also raised awareness of prostate cancer in the community. Prostate cancer survivors, friends and family members of those who have been lost, and those inspired to undergo their first test reached out to the Pelicans after the event.
"It's incredibly humbling to hear someone say 'you definitely saved someone's life today,' but we embraced the promotion with the thought that 'if it could allow one child to have a father with whom they could play catch, then it's worth it,'" Milovich added.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, striking one in seven men in their lifetime. However, with early detection, prostate cancer has a 97% cure rate.
The promotion not only received incredible media attention but also spread within the Minor League Baseball community. Executives with the Charleston Riverdogs (Dave Echols), Lake Elsinore Storm (Dave Oster), Savannah Sand Gnats (John Katz), and Erie SeaWolves (Greg Coleman) also underwent the "Two-Knuckle Challenge," as it has been dubbed, singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" while undergoing a prostate exam at their own ballparks.
"There's a lot of heart in the baseball community, and this promotion is a prime example," added Reichard. "No one associates fun with a prostate exam, but the Pelicans tackled a tough subject and turned it into a successful, impactful promo."
The Pelicans return to TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in 2015, as they look to defend their Southern Division Championship Title. The 2015 season marks the 17th season for the franchise and first as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. For information on tickets to see the Pelicans in 2015, please call (843) 918-6000, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.