Webcor Builders Presents Opera at the Ballpark
is an exciting and exhilarating event. It’s quite an experience to enjoy free opera “al fresco” with thousands of fans. For the simulcast attendee, the entire experience lasts a few hours. As a Marketing Associate for San Francisco Opera, my involvement in this event takes a bit more time than that. Ok, a lot more time than that. Ever wonder what it’s like to be one of the many people involved in putting on an event such as Opera at the Ballpark? Below is a timeline of what it’s like to work the event as a member of the marketing team.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
12pm: Arrive at AT&T Park.
Go to AT&T Park’s Press Room to unpack snacks for tomorrow. How many snacks does it take to feed 58 volunteers and 20 staff members? 350 bottles of water, 98 bags of potato chips, 30 bags of Cheetos, 64 bags of pretzels, 30 apples, 15 bunches of bananas, 48 packs of regular M&Ms, 48 packs of peanut M&Ms, three ginormous bags of trailmix and 294 single-serving bags of peanuts.
Check-in with AT&T Park staff as they distribute (what seems like) millions of boxes of marketing collateral on small flatbed trucks through really, really tight corners and halls. Irresistibly think of that scene
in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
. Boxes include subscription brochures, single ticket brochures, San Francisco Opera pens, various event and opera postcards and enter-to-win forms.
1–1:30pm: Assemble 15 entry boxes and tape each with signs explaining enter-to-win prize—without scissors, using MacGyver-style tactic of cutting packing tape with a pen.
1:30–2pm: Inhale sandwich from Safeway’s courtesy of April Busch, Production Operations and Safety Director. Thanks April! [Above: Photo by Linda Betty M.]
2–5pm: Walk around AT&T Park and visit all entrances (Willie Mays, 2nd & King, Marina, Fan Lot and Lefty O'Doul) to make sure marketing collateral and simulcast programs courtesy of The San Francisco Examiner were delivered to station tables. Walk around a few more times with a colleague to put up direction signs for patrons at all entrances. Four hands were definitely needed given the intense wind that was blowing through the gates.
5–6pm: Find a box of trash bags to cover programs and marketing collateral due to forecasted rain. Walk around park some more. (Really glad at this point I’m wearing Nike Shox.)
6pm: Time to go home!
Sunday, September 25, 2011
7:15am: Arrive at AT&T Park.
7:20–8am: Wait for AT&T staff to arrive to open parking lot. Um…didn’t anticipate that one.
8–8:15am: Drop off directional posters and easels for Friends & Family section at Field Club Entrance.
8:20–9am: Set up volunteer station in Press Room: divide 5,000 enter-to-win forms into seven equal piles for four entrance tables and three marketing booths. Create four really, really big piles of San Francisco Opera pens to have at each entrance table. [Above: Photo by Linda Betty M.]
9–10am: Rest of marketing staff arrives. Three marketing booths in Field Level, Promenade Level and the Fan Lot are set up.
10–10:45am: Volunteers arrive. Check-in involves escorting volunteers from Field Club Entrance to Press Room. Once there, volunteers are given a badge and San Francisco Opera t-shirt. Volunteers are free to relax and snack until orientation. The 58 volunteers work the lines outside at park entrances, work at the Opera Shop booth, the three marketing booths or at the entrance welcome tables.
10:45–11am: Volunteer orientation.
11–11:30am: Escort volunteers to assigned sections. Walk around park a few more times to ensure all stations have the necessary equipment.
11:30–12pm: Return to Press Room to wait for any late volunteers. Eat a late breakfast of Cheetos. Breakfast.Of.Champions.
12:15–2:45pm: Work at Promenade Level marketing booth. Have a blast talking to patrons. Even have a simulcast-goer tell me her polka-dotted sweater is in honor of the opera. Oh—Turan-dot! I get it!
: Walk around park with marketing colleagues (I’m keeping track of how many times total—stay tuned) to collect bar-coded entry forms from all entrances.
3:15–4:15pm: Garlic fries for lunch! (Sorry colleagues.)
4:15–4:30pm: Lug bags and bags of bar-coded entry forms and first batch of enter-to-win forms to colleague’s car to take back to office.
4:30–5:15pm-ish: Go to entrance welcome tables to bid simulcast-goers goodnight (have great conversations with fans with tears running down their cheeks out of sheer joy and inspiration!), collect any remaining enter-to-win forms, relieve volunteers and thank them for their amazing, tireless work. [Above: Photo by Linda Betty M.]
5:20ish–6pm: Break down entrance tables and marketing booths. Pack up all remaining marketing collateral and label it to be picked up by the Opera props department and delivered back to office. Walk around park again. Total times walked around park in two days...wait for it...34 times. That’s roughly 13.8 miles. I could’ve walked across the city to Ocean Beach and back again! (Mental note to book foot massage.)
6pm: Time to go home and relax ‘til next year!