Friday, July 23, 2010

Pulling Out All The Stops For MS--"A Night At The Park" Update

Original Nats320 "Ryan Zimmerman's A Night At The Park" Story can be read at this link.

"We are leveraging everything we have at CAA," boldly stated Brodie Van Wagenen, Ryan Zimmerman's Agent from the Creative Artists Agency. "From David Blaine who is a CAA artist, to Amos Lee who is a CAA artist, to the auction items that you will see--all of those auction items are sourced through CAA corporate clients or through CAA talent that have really come out and shown support--which is really exciting and really cool."

Mr. Van Wagenen was speaking to Nats320 for an extensive interview chatting up the upcoming ziMS Foundation Premiere Event in Washington. D.C. "Ryan Zimmerman's A Night A The Park" is set for Monday night, August 9th at Nationals Park. A high profile charity function to help raise awareness and seek new funding in the effort to combat and find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. As many that read Nats320 know, Ryan's Mom, Cheryl, has MS. Therefore, the ziMS Foundation hits home for The Z-Man and his family.

"The thought is to bring Ryan’s philanthropic efforts to Washington, D.C. so he can actually capitalize on the political muscle that exists there," continued Brodie. "And that’s why we have three honorary co-chairs (Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO)) and people that are a part of the MS Caucus on The Hill to really help get the word out. They can not only give a media boost to Ryan, but also raise awareness and help Ryan gain traction within the D.C. community."

In the effort to give "A Night At The Park" a more "Inside The Beltway" feel, CAA is working with The White House to encourage administration participation there and NBC News' White House Correspondent and Political Director Chuck Todd will be the Master of Ceremonies. Magician David Blaine will give a private performance to VIP Ticket Holders in The Presidents Club that night, while Amos Lee and Mutlu will perform on a specially designed stage that will sit ON TOP OF the Presidents Club seats. And some of Ryan Zimmerman's Washington Nationals teammates will be on hand as well to "Meet & Greet" guests purchasing Elite and VIP tickets.

Brodie Van Wagenen: "A total of 1000 tickets will be sold. Roughly, 300 at the VIP level, 300 at the elite level and 400 at the general admission level. The custom stage will have two wings where podiums will be set for guest speakers. Essentially, the stage will be elevated about three to four feet above the seats. And will be more eye level to the front row of the Diamond Club seating. All the (concert) seating will be within the Diamond Club."

All guests can enter Nationals Park through Home Plate Gate beginning at 6:30PM. From that point, everyone will be directed to the right toward the PNC Diamond Club where all Silent Auction items will be displayed on the main concourse (in front of Giffords' Ice Cream and those concessions behind Sections 127-129). Cash bars will be in place for General Admission ticket holders surrounding the silent auction. Elite Level Ticket holders will be escorted to The Diamond Club where drinks will be available and passed appetizers are parts of that package. VIP Ticket Holders will be escorted down to The Lexus Presidents Club via the walkway next to Section 127. A gourmet meal, drinks and the David Blaine performance will all take place there.

What Mr. Van Wagenen believes will really be cool about the evening is that David Blaine likes to have the face-to-face, hands on, individual experience with each guest. Blaine will be inside the Presidents Club essentially going from table to table and group to group. The ballpark will be lighted with spotlights to give Nationals Park more of a Gala feel. Valet Parking is tentatively set for Potomac Avenue. SE (next to Lot A) and a Red Carpet is expected to be laid down on the walkway leading to the Home Plate Gate entrance.

Brodie Van Wagenen: "I really think it is going to be a fun night. I think people are going to have a great experience. We’ve had an unbelievable amount of interest and response from people who are going to buy tickets. We are anticipating that the tickets will sell out pretty quickly. Just in the past few days, email blasts have gone out to about 200,000 people. And our ticket sales have gone through the roof in the last 72 hours."

CAA targeted Washington Nationals Season Ticket Holders, the national MS Society, The Head First Baseball Camps, The University of Virginia MS Association and The UVA Athletic Foundation in those emails. And thanks to corporate sponsorships, CAA--which is running the event for the ziMS Foundation & "Ryan Zimmerman's Night At The Park"--has already paid the evening's costs--meaning every ticket sold and auction item purchased from now until August 9th will go directly to the ziMS Foundation. Over $200,000 gross is expected to be raised for "A Night At The Park"--over $100,000 to be given to Ryan Zimmerman's Charitable cause. Net funding which would double money raised for the ziMS Foundation's Gala & Golf Tournaments held each fall in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

When Nats320 spoke with Ryan Zimmerman about this event two weeks ago, it was clear in Ryan's heart, this premiere Washington event for the ziMS Foundation is a stepping stone for something greater. A belief Brodie Van Wagenen couldn't agree more:

"There is no question that is a possibility. When Stan (Kasten) and I first finalized Ryan’s long term deal with The Nationals, we negotiated one-day per year in the contract where Ryan can have access to use the stadium for a charitable event like this. And the goal this year is to have a great experience, hopefully sell out our events, and give everyone a real taste of what is possible. As we grow, we certainly hope we can continue to bring in talent, and attract talent, that wants to be a part of it. And in a perfect storm, I can see having annual events where we have 40,000 plus people in the stadium to have a great evening and enjoy a great night of performances for a good cause."

Various CAA artists and sponsors have donated a healthy list of live and silent auction items. Some of the goodies up for bid include a tour of every Major League Ballpark, a private workout with Ryan Zimmerman and other Big League players at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Florida, an Atlantis Resort vacation package in the Bahamas and a Canadian Train Adventure. An updated list of silent and live auction items can be seen at this link. You can also purchase tickets at that link.

VIP Tickets cost $500, Elite Level $175 and General Admission $75. Wrist bands will be given to all attendees to signify what section of park access will be granted for the night's events. All seating for the live performances will be in Diamond Club. Gates open at 6:30PM. Food will be served beginning at 7PM. The David Blaine (VIP Ticket Only) performance at 7:30PM. The live auction at 8:30PM and the concert at 9PM. A special After Party will take place in Presidents Club for VIP Ticket Holders Only.

"We are pulling out all the stops," concluded Brodie Van Wagenen. "This has been fun for all of us (at CAA) to be involved in on not only a personal level but a professional level. A charity event I am really proud to be able to help with and offer."

More special guests and auction items could be announced by the August 9th date. If so, Mr. Van Wagenen has promised to update Nats320 on the details.

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