Most Valuable Partner Celebration

Jeff SummersCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2012

Earlier this week the Arizona Diamondbacks announced plans for a unique event. The Most Valuable Partner event. For the first time in franchise history they are going to recognize the efforts of the team’s corporate partners.

I’m not sure what surprised me more, the fact that the Diamondbacks were creating this event to try and bring to the forefront how important corporate partnerships are to the success of a Major League Baseball team or the fact that no one had thought to do this before now.

It’s not like every team doesn’t have corporate sponsors. One look around every ballpark in Major League Baseball will tell you that the marriage between corporate America and baseball is a strong union.

What makes the Diamondbacks approach so interesting is that they look to take these relationships to the next level. Instead of looking at sponsors as a necessary evil and one that fans equate to “selling out” and the inevitable advertising in what seems like every nook and cranny, the Diamondbacks are attempting to recognize the unique ways that their partners are building team loyalty.

This is especially important in the Arizona Diamondbacks market. The D-backs are not a team with a large nationwide following. Most of the fans are either located in the television market for the Diamondbacks or who have some connection to the team.

By recognizing and helping these corporate partners come up with unique ways of showcasing the team they can hopefully build more awareness of the D-backs which will in turn result in increased attendance at future games.

The Most Valuable Partner celebration will take place at Wild Horse Pass & Casino in the east valley. There will be a red carpet arrival that will be reminiscent of award shows such as the Academy Awards or the Grammys.

Partners will be greeted by such Diamondbacks luminaries such as Diamondbacks legends Luis Gonzalez and Matt Williams; broadcasters Daron Sutton and Mark Grace; and current Diamondbacks such as Ian Kennedy, Chris Young, Ryan Roberts, and Paul Goldschmidt.

There will be seven awards given out culminating with the Most Valuable Partner of the Year. It will be interesting to see how well this goes over. The Diamondbacks are expecting approximately 300 guests at the event.

I was fortunate enough to be able to persuade my name on the guest list for the night. I’m sure my wife won’t mind too much that I promised the Diamondbacks that my son would be renamed to Chase Field Summers. It really has a nice ring to it after all.

During the event I plan on taking a few photos disguising myself as some kind of corporate partner paparazzi. I’m also planning on tweeting from the event using the hash code of #dbMVPawards so if you want to follow along or if you want a specific photo let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate (at least until someone does their best Sean Penn impression and beats me with my camera or iPhone). Look for a full report of the event tomorrow.