Wednesday, April 08, 2009

SF Giants Baseball Opening Day; Party Economy Still Active In San Francisco

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San Francisco and the SF Bay Area have developed what I call a "party economy" where to the layperson people have events with food and drink and music everywhere, but really are marketing gatherings to present a restaurant or a type of drink or even a car. These happenings are the lifeblood of San Francisco and are prevalent during the Opening Day Game of the San Francisco Giants' baseball season as my video will show.

The game pitting the Giants against the Milwaukee Brewers was one I did not see much of. I was too busy talking to old friends and meeting new people and I wasn't the only one. Even with the wet weather, which eventually cleared, spirits were high, smiles were many, and at some events people dressed as if it was 90 degrees outside.

I went to meet friends in what has become an annual ritual for us, even though I live in Oakland, like the Oakland A's and even made a game called "The Oakland Baseball Simworld." But my good friends live in San Francisco and are in the marketing and promotions business, and have relationships with me that are over 10 years in the case of two of them, Beth Schnitzer and Randy Gordon, who helped me form the bid to bring the 2005 Super Bowl to Oakland (we lost to Jacksonville at the Atlanta Fall NFL Owners meeting in 2000). From those two I've developed a long list of friends and contacts in the restaurant, political, media, and hospitality areas. All of them come out on baseball opening day.

The parties were many and most of the visits were unplanned; I had no idea where we were headed next until we were at an event. We left the game early in the eighth inning, as I was literally dragged to a gathering thrown by Epic Roasthouse on the waterfront, the new eatery created by San Francisco restauranteur Pat Kuleto and Pete Sittnick, who's Epic's managing partner.

The party was part vodka promotion and part networking fest, but for me since about 70 percent of the party attendees were with our group, it was a kind of family day by the Bay. Then we went across the Embarcadero to Gordon Bierch and were treated to a great spread of food and drink by the marketing manager and staff of the legendary bistro.

Good friends who are also business contacts are a kind of way of life in the Bay Area, and especially in San Francisco, where its developed into an art form. These are my best friends, but also have helped me in various ways in building my business. Why San Francisco has evolved in that way is the stuff for another blog, but for now it's a way of life.

The event was for Blue Angel Vodka, and because of the name I expected to see the planes fly overhead. But what I got was a great time presented by Sittnick, who told me that people were "tired of talking about the Recession" and want to party. All the better for Epic Roasthouse and the people employed to staff the party, including three "dressed to sell vodka" women from Davis, California who told me what "Cow Tipping" was (where they actually turn over a poor cow) as I had no idea at all. Seriously. (In fairness, they said it was something they did when they were young and never again.)

And people were indeed out spending money. But not as much as even last year just by an observation. You could see it in the stands, where the third deck at AT&T Park was about half full. You could see it around the grounds where not as many were walking, but then it was the rain as much as the economy. That written, it was still crowded.

What I took from today's event was that the Giants have some offensive firepower from what little I saw of the game, but equally important, people are still out trying to drum up business and consummate agreements and partnerships to bring in money. Americans are losing their jobs at big firms and in government departments, but it's a great time to be an entrepreneur, especially in San Francisco on Giants Opening Day. version
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