Last Saturday, I attended the Fightin Phils Ticket Hootenanny, a Reading tradition where fans can pick up their season tickets, purchase single-game tickets, take walking tours of First Energy Stadium, and even try out to sing the National Anthem before a Reading Fightin Phils game. This year was the first year that the event was branded under the Fightin Phils name – a sharp change for some who had know the club as the Reading Phillies for the last 46 years. I met with Eric Scarcella, Director of Public Relations for the Fightin Phils to talk briefly about the name change.
On how the name change came about:
Every year, we take a look and see what we can do better. We have a motto around here: if you’re not getting better, you’re probably getting worse. We did not originally set out to change our name or our logo; we set out to create something that would capture our brand and our brand of fans better.
On what the name adds:
By calling ourselves the Reading Fightin Phils and by adding our mascot, the ostrich, we have something the kids in Berks County and the greater Philadelphia area can wear and associate with our team. Back before this, we were just had a word mark, it just said “R-Phils”. That was our main logo. For kids that was kind of bland
We’re still the (Fightin’) Phils, so we’re still the Phillies. We’re not trying to shy away from 47 years of history but we are trying to carve our own niche from that rich history.
On the backlash from fans:
There was definitely a backlash. There was an online backlash. If we didn’t have any backlash, I would have been concerned. I think the fans in Baseballtown and outside the Reading area, I think they’re the greatest fans in baseball, the most passionate fans in baseball. They voiced their opinions with us – we knew there was going to be backlash – we were the Reading Phillies for 46 years, so by changing even one little thing, we knew they would let us know how they felt about it.
Since (the name change in) November, everything has been going really well. We’ve had between 500 and 750 people out for our ticket event – now that some time has passed a little, they seen some of the logos, I’m wearing our fist logo, we have our ostrich hats, they’re finding ones they like.
On the new video scoreboard:
For someone who works in the pressbox on a day to day basis, it’s amazing. It’s a million dollar scoreboard, it is quadruple the size of the old board, and it’s HD 10, so true HD. You’ll be able to see things you haven’t been able to see in years passed like replays, which we were never able to do. We’re going to have a left field ribbon board and a lot more interactive things to do.
On fans coming to see the young prospects in Reading:
Yeah, Jesse Biddle for instance, he’s the number one prospect. Because Biddle is a local guy, it really resonates. People really like to root for the local guy.
There was a couple guys who came up late last season, Tommy Joseph and Cody Asche who are exciting. We may see those guys again – if it wasn’t for Darin Ruf, we may have heard a lot more about those guys.
Eric can be found on Twitter @FightinsPR.