Back in the earliest part of 2017, people started talking about the total solar eclipse that would take place in August. But, let’s face it, it was the deepest, darkest part of the winter and the last thing on most everyone’s mind was something that was going to happen in late summer.
Now, the eclipse is only a little more than 10 days away – on August 21, to be exact. (Here is NASA’s counter to get you up-to-the-second information on when it’s coming.) And this rare event, when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, leading to a short period of near-darkness, has been the growing opportunity for sports promotions.
Plenty of running event owners have tied in already, with community and club 5Ks; most of these are morning runs. Of course, at least a few are “virtual runs” so that nobody gets sued for retina damage.
And yes, it’s still a big deal. There hasn’t been a coast-to-coast eclipse in the United States in nearly 100 years. In addition, real science aficionados (some might say nerds but we’re taking the high road here), are aware of a ‘path of totality,’ or area in which the eclipse will be most noticeable. (Fun fact: In many cases, hotel rooms in cities within the path of totality have been booked for years.)
Some cities have established bragging rights. Greenville, South Carolina, for example, has noted that it has one of the highest percent chances of having viewable conditions the day of the eclipse at about 65 percent (Columbia is at 44 percent and Charleston is at 53 percent). And those bragging rights can help bring in the tourists, as can a schedule of activities to keep kids busy. St. Joseph, Missouri, is setting up viewing areas in its municipal parks and has put out a call for food vendors.
So – heads in beds are of course, always desirable, but so are butts in seats at sports events. And while we had an overview back in that February/March period of the events that were planned as promotional tie-ins, there are, needless to say, even more now.
But of course, safety first. The great personnel at NASA (who by the way, will be live-streaming the eclipse), having been at the forefront of educating the public on the upcoming event, are also doing their level best to promote eye safety. Regular sunglasses won’t do it here; in fact, says NASA, you need something a lot better. The organization has come up with standards for eye protection and is cautioning the public not to fall for inferior goods.
For sports event organizers who are offering a promotional tie-in, NASA is all for it; in fact, they have formulated ideas on how to promote the daylights out of your event (see what we did there?) They’ve also mapped out the most current predictions as to where the eclipse will be the most visible.
If you haven’t yet really started promoting, you’re still bound to pick up a bunch of folks, since many events are selling out. The MiLB’s Volcanoes, for example, have EclipseFest – but many single-game tickets are sold out. Chicken N Pickle, a restaurant/pickleball venue, has a special pickleball tournament and even a rooftop viewing party.
And don’t miss your chance to make a fashion statement. Wilson Sporting Goods has even come out with a special hat for you to wear during the solar eclipse in your visit to the Path of Totality – or any other time and place, apparently.