Mike LaRosa is used to his cell phone receiving a lot of text messages on game days. The CEO of LaRosa’s Pizza is used to this when the Reds are playing. If Reds pitchers strike out 11 or more of their opponents, fans in attendance receive a free, small, one-topping pizza from LaRosa’s.
The promotion was originally started three years ago. Now it has become something of a phenomenon. The restaurant chain has had to come up with some plans to account for the popularity of the promotion. For the first two years, fans could pick up their pizzas on game day – but this ended up having some restaurants hit really hard at closing or dinner time. This year, they ask their fans to wait until the following day to collect.
Pete Buscani, the executive vice president of marketing is the man behind the idea. Now it is not uncommon as the goal of 11 strikeouts is neared, the fans start shouting ‘piz-za, piz-za’.
In 2012, the 11 strikeout goal was reached 14 times. In 2013, 22 times. So far in 2014, it has been reached 16 times. While the promotion does cost the company money, they feel that it makes up for that in the amount of publicity and good will generated.