For a sports team, one of the most important components in marketing to fans is the mascot.
Which score the highest? The Davie-Brown Index, a survey put out by The Marketing Arm, a brand awareness consultancy, measured pro sports mascots on awareness, appeal, entertainment value and how strongly fans affiliated them with their teams.
These 10 are the biggest hits:
No. 1 Phillie Phanatic
Named in honor of Philadelphia’s fanatical followers, the Phanatic debuted in 1978. A bright green, feathery blob with bushy eyebrows and a big beak, the Phanatic was designed by a New York studio recommended to the Phillies by Jim Henson. One of three mascots whose costumes are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Phillie Phanatic made a name for himself by storming onto the field on an ATV and mixing it up with the other team’s players, sometimes even dancing with them.
The highest “entertaining” score in the business gives the Phanatic a slight edge over the Chicken. The Phillies’ four straight years in the postseason has pushed the Phanatic’s awareness nationally.
No. 2 San Diego Chicken
Freelance; former San Diego Padres
In existence since 1974, the San Diego Chicken — or The Famous Chicken as it’s known — is the granddaddy of professional sports mascots. Enshrined in Cooperstown, the giant yellow chicken was named by the Sporting News as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful People In Sports For The 20th Century. Not always a famous pro mascot, the Chicken began with a one-week stint handing out Easter eggs at the San Diego Zoo before blossoming into the most recognizable mascot of all time and performing all over the world.
The entertaining Chicken hangs tough as a favorite, despite ending his formal affiliation with the Padres years ago.
No. 3 Racing Sausages
While Bernie Brewer may be the official mascot of the Milwaukee Brewers, the team’s famous racing sausages come in a close third. What began as a gimmick displayed on their scoreboard in the early ’90s turned into a huge fan favorite. A hot dog, an Italian sausage, a Polish sausage, and a bratwurst began racing around the infield warning track once a week. Eventually, they were racing between the sixth and seventh innings of every game and quickly became a highlight of Milwaukee home games.
A huge hit in Milwaukee since the early 1990s, the race has grown from three sausages (Polish, Italian and bratwurst) to five (adding chorizo and hot dog). Very high “entertaining” scores.
No. 4 Mr. Met
New York Mets
A tough year for the Mets in more ways than one–even their mascot drops a spot from last year. People like Mr. Met’s family-friendly appeal; he’s just not all that entertaining.
No. 5 The Gorilla
The first NBA mascot, Gorilla — also known as Go — is the hairy gorilla in a Phoenix Suns warmup shirt that revolutionized professional sports mascots. Debuting in 1980, Go shunned the traditional route of comedic dancing and opted for amazing athletic feats. The Suns’ gorilla began rappelling from the ceiling and became the first mascot to feature high-flying dunks and trampolines in his act. With a team that includes a mascot coordinator to set up the props and a younger brother named Junior, Go leapt off the trampoline and into the hearts of Phoenix fans.
The Gorilla popularized the high-flying, trampoline-bouncing, slam-dunking NBA mascot. He still holds up as the most recognizable.
No. 6 Racing Presidents
Taking a page from Milwaukee’s sausages, the Nationals showcase caricatures of Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt running a daily race and schmoozing fans in the stands. The obvious D.C. theme gives the Presidents strong affiliation scores with their team.
No. 7 Benny the Bull
Much like the Phoenix Gorilla, Benny entertains hoops fans with acrobatic dunks and enthusiastic cheerleading. He’s also all over the local community, making about 250 appearances a year.
No. 8 Wally the Green Monster
Boston Red Sox
The tradition-laden Red Sox were slow to the mascot game, but Wally has been a big hit with kids.
No. 9 Rocky
Rocky joined the Denver Nuggets in 1990, and became an instant hit with the fans. Rising to the top of his profession, the mountain lion’s salary is estimated to be in the six-figure range — among the highest for NBA mascots. Considered the team’s lucky charm, his tradition of attempting a backwards half-court shot in the second half is considered a predictor of whether the team will win or lose the game.
Fewer than half of respondents know that Rocky the Mountain Lion belongs to the Nuggets, but they love his acrobatics and fun with referees.
No. 10 Billy the Marlin
The eight-foot fish bills himself as a “master of pantomime” and is known to “fish” for fans and umpires, using ballpark food as bait.
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