The Inland Empire 66ers are a Single-A California League team from San Bernardino, where Ken Griffey Jr. once played, so named because historic Route 66 runs right through town. The team is looking to start its 2013 season off right, with its gala Farewell to Twinkies Night in April 5. The organization has also extended an offer to actor Woody Harrelson, who in 2009, starred as the Twinkie obsessed Tallahassee in the zombie comedy, Zombieland, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Beyond the invitation to Harrelson, the 66ers have also contacted Hostess about featuring Twinkie the Kid, Hostess’s well known mascot, in the Mascot Dash vs. the team’s own Bernie.
The first 999 fans in attendance will receive a free Twinkie; however there will be a silent auction for the final Twinkie to be awarded during the seventh inning stretch with proceeds going to charity.
“These 999 Twinkies could very well be the last produced and to be able to share them with our fans, would be a real treat,” 66ers GM, Joe Hudson said.
At a current rate of $3.8 million per 30 seconds for next year’s big game, the cost is too much, global marketing chief Joel Ewanick told the Wall Street Journal.
“We understand the reach the Super Bowl provides, but with the significant increase in price, we simply can’t justify the expense,” Ewanick said in a statement.
The U.S. government still owns a stake in GM and one analyst speculates that the move could be related. “Some might even read into this move as a way for GM to cut more costs, boost its share price and make it appealing for the U.S. government to sell its stake in the automaker to allow it to shed its ‘Government Motors’ moniker,” said Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs in an emailed statement.
GM had a heavy commercial presence in last year’s Super Bowl, highlighted by its 60-second end-of-the-world spot for the Chevy Silverado. Among the survivors were Chevy pickups and Twinkies. The spot also made a dig at rival Ford.
But Ford got in a jab of its own this week. After GM announced it was dumping paid advertising on Facebook because it didn’t work, Ford not so subtly tweeted: “It’s all about the execution. Our Facebook ads are effective when strategically combined with engaging content & innovation.”
The last time GM sat out the Super Bowl was in 2009, around the time it was accepting $17.4 billion in government bailout money.