Grizzlies in the D

This is the first time Oakland University has been a part of Detroit Tigers University Nights.

For 11 years, the Oakland alumni association has held an OU night at Comerica Park. This year, Grizzlies young and old have a second opportunity to celebrate being from Oakland University, at the Detroit Tigers University night, September 4.

For Oakland, it is the first year the university has been invited to be part of the promotional series and join the ranks of Michigan State, the University of Michigan, and the other big universities around Michigan who are celebrated by the Tigers throughout the season.

Unlike the annual alumni night that is put on by the alumni association and includes a dinner, this event is initiated by the Detroit Tigers and has its own special perk.

Those who attend the night, by purchasing a special ticket package through the Tigers, will receive a limited edition co-branded Tigers hat, featuring the old English D in black and gold, with the intertwined Oakland University block letters on the side.

“The cookie cutter for every school is they send us the band and their cheerleaders, so they can do something, and a famous alumni to be part of the festivities,” said Dwain Lewis, director of group sales for the Detroit Tigers.

For this university night, pre-game festivities will feature everyone’s favorite mascot, The Grizz, Oakland University’s dance team, and a first pitch thrown out by Oakland alumna Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

Although this is the first time Oakland will be in the university nights series, OU’s marketing department has been collaborating with the Tigers for a number of years and will continue to be part of the marketing and advertising strategy for 2015, according to Bryan Cain, director of integrated marketing at Oakland University.

This collaboration can be seen year round at any home game, with an Oakland University banner shown just behind home plate – always in view of the camera during a player’s at bat.

“Our relationship with the Detroit Tigers generates visibility and drives the Oakland University brand,” said Cain. “Many universities look at community based sponsorships, such as this, to improve visibility.”

To drive the Oakland University brand, many different offices are working together to pull the night off, including athletics, the alumni association, and the communications office, according to Erin Sudrovech, associate director of alumni and community engagement at OU.

Aside from giving associates of Oakland a fun night at the ballpark, part of the deal is to give back to the school – namely the alumni association.

“The package works by getting the game ticket, with four seating choices (in different locations around Comerica Park),” Lewis said. “From every package sold, $5 is given to the alumni student association.”

As far as the game goes, the Tigers will take on the American League Central Division rival Cleveland Indians, with special ticket packages ranging from $25-$75.