Representatives from Visit Central Florida and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce combined efforts during the annual TigerFest, held at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan, on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Thousands of fans streamed into the park to escape the winter doldrums, anxious for a glimpse of summer. While at the park, fans were able to go behind the scenes, visiting the clubhouse, the dugouts, the media center and into the suites, all while being entertained by major leaguers both past and present. And let’s not forget the autographs. 

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Upon entering the stadium, guests received a TigerFest Knit Hat featuring the Visit Central Florida on the back. And in the midst of the activities was a large display for Visit Central Florida, Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing’s pseudonym when marketing to rest of the world. Orange juice, provided by Ridge Island Groves, was given to visitors as they stopped by to learn more about the Spring Training destination for the Tigers, Polk County. On hand to answer questions were Jackie Johnson of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce as well as PCTSM Director Mark Jackson and PCTSM staff Justin Laferriere and Kris Keprios. 

Tigerfest Entrance

TigerFest is the official fan fest for the Tigers and the final stop of the team’s annual winter caravan that stops at nearly 30 different locations around the Michigan area, including Children’s Hospital, the headquarters for Comerica Bank and AAA Michigan, hockey arenas, high schools, an Air National Guard base and even the local offices of the FBI. Traveling along with that bus is the Visit Central Florida logo, prominently displayed on its side, as Visit Central Florida is the title sponsor of both the caravan and TigerFest.

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According to Jackie Johnson, senior vice president of the Lakeland Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, the visit North was a resounding success.

“Fans were excited to learn about all there is to do in our area to keep their entire family happy, find new places to stay, and learn of our close proximity to so many Spring Training teams,” she said. “They are ready for their complete Florida experience where they can enjoy some Major League Baseball and still enjoy all the famous locations Central Florida has to offer!”  

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The appearance at TigerFest was only the first step in PCTSM’s increased marketing and awareness campaign with the Detroit Tigers. Other promotions will include the promotion of Visit Central Florida on print-at-home tickets, a Visit Central Florida booth at the stadium, complete with brochures on all the various activities Polk County has to offer, and home plate advertising visible to TV viewers during key home series. To Mark Jackson, the director of Visit Central Florida, “strengthening the connection between the Tigers and Polk County took an enormous amount of planning and energy, but it was a no-brainer that will produce results.”

“Everywhere you go in Michigan, residents know Lakeland is synonymous with the Tigers. But this partnership and increased visibility will allow us to further educate Michigan residents about all there is to see and do outside the stadium in Lakeland as well as after the game,” said Jackson.

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PCTSM has unveiled a massive marketing partnership with the Detroit Tigers that will be one of the most comprehensive marketing partnerships between a Spring Training host city and a MLB team. Polk County will be highlighted throughout the season to Tigers fans in Detroit, from preseason to the World Series, with the goal to not only help bolster Lakeland and Polk County as a top-of-mind vacation destination among Tigers fans, but also to drive fans deeper into the county to experience even more of what we have to offer. 

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