Being born and raised in Columbus, I may be a little bias, but I truly believe the Machine are doing it right. In a city where sports reign supreme and the little guy can fall by the wayside, the Ohio Machine are continuing to raise eyebrows and most importantly, they’re starting to put butts in seats.
The team’s record the first two seasons didn’t truly reflect what was going on in Ohio. The organization started to build trust with the community and offered a friendly environment to take in a new professional sport.
In just three years it has become clear to me, the fans love the Machine, the Machine loves their fans and both love the Earth. Let me explain.
Fans Love the Ohio Machine
To put it frankly, Columbus, Ohio is absolutely insane-out-of-their-mind-crazy for sports. The influence of the the Ohio State Buckeyes’ success in the sporting world has passed over on to other walks of life and it doesn’t hurt that the state has two pro football teams and two pro baseball teams. People are willing to cheer, or boo, anything in Columbus, because that’s how we do.
The Crew of Major League Soccer, the NHL’s Blue Jackets and even the Triple-A baseball Clippers have all found success in the capital city because they can rely on a culture of die-hard fans to paint their bodies just to wait in line for season tickets. On the other side of the coin the NLL did bring the Landsharks to Columbus in 2000 which was a short lived experiment but I assure that didn’t fail because the lack of passionate fans.
This passion creates a lot of opportunity for the Machine as Ohioans love to dedicate themselves to their sports teams, really good or really bad. The Machine came in at the same time that Ohio State was hosting much larger games in the famous Horseshoe and Ohio’s lacrosse community was itching to see more lax in any way possible.
Don’t believe me, take it from the guys who are actually there this season!
The natural sense of commitment to the team was one thing, but you can attribute some of that dedication to what the Machine does for their fans.
Ohio Machine Loves Their Fans
Going to a Machine game is awesome for Ohioans because people from the Buckeye State love free swag, cheap food and chances to win even cooler stuff. It’s also cool to be able to line the field after the game, win or loss, and get an autograph from your favorite players.
The 2,987 person home average and 4,916 average on the road is a good sign for future growth. Bringing in almost 5,000 on the road might just mean that Ohio is now the team to see. You can bet with those growing numbers and a roster that boasts names like Kyle Harrison, Peter Baum and Tom Schrieber, the Machine are going to capitalize on the positives.
Adrenaline Prize Packs, Hotel Stays, Fiddle Sticks, Sunglasses, Autographed Machine Player T-Shirts, Magnets, Helmets, Jerseys and a ton of local gift cards and prize packs will be given away to those in attendance. My parents were sold on the $1 bratwurst but now they’re staying for a chance to win free stuff and watch a complimentary firework show!
I would also like the note the creation of the #OilUp social media tag as well as the Machine Game Day account to keep fans connected and updated to all Machine news in a timely and sometimes pretty comical manner, something I follow pretty regularly.
Both Love the Earth
Machine have proven that they love Mother Nature by successfully hosting the very first Zero Waste Night in MLL history. I love to see organizations like the Machine doing their part to give back to the planet and it speaks volumes for the fans seeing as they had to buy in to the idea to make it work.
Zero-waste is a diversion of at least 90 percent of waste from the landfill or incineration.
The breakdown from Saturday’s activities attended by nearly 3,500 fans and participants was 24 bags of compostable post-consumer waste totaling 480 pounds, 16 bags of recyclable materials and one-and-a-half bags of actual garbage.
This was in conjunction with the Team Esteem girls’ lacrosse tournament featuring five teams from across Ohio that scored 176 goals over the course of the day. For each goal scored during the tournament, Thirty-One Gifts pledged 10 dollars for a total of 1,760 dollars raised.
Machine fans also love to spend money on things that matter, or just really cool jerseys, but probably both!
This year the Machine wore Star Wars’ Stormtroopers themed jersey for their road game at the Denver Outlaws this season and then wore blackout home jerseys (my nomination for jersey of the year) last week before auctioning both off for charity. The black jerseys are still available right now, but the bidding is hot due to the worthwhile nature of the product.
The black jerseys’ proceeds benefit Rotary International’s quest to end Polio while the Star Wars jersey were benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. Both causes make the world a better place, so great job Machine fans!
The Ohio Machine Foundation was also formed this season to help aid the growth of lacrosse in Central Ohio. Just another great cause the Machine has created to support their community.
The boys in blue have two game remaining, one tonight in Rochester and next week’s Fan AppReciation Game against the Florida Launch at home. Try to make it out to one, or catch in on the tube, to figure out what all of the commotion is all about.
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