A minor league team will latch on to one of the hottest franchises in television and books and host a "Game of Thrones"-inspired night at the ballpark thanks to a connection with author George R. R. Martin.
When Martin told the New York Post in October that, as a young boy in Bayonne, New Jersey, his view of Staten Island inspired his fictional city of King's Landing, Mike Holley became intrigued.
Holley, the senior director of marketing and fan experience for the Staten Island Yankees, was looking for promotions for the 2015 season. Seeing an opportunity, he reached out to Martin, who said he would support a "Game of Thrones"-themed night as long as the team changed its jerseys.
"I'm a Mets fan," Martin told Holley, "so you are going to have to change the jerseys for me to come and wear it."
With Martin's blessing, the folks at HBO endorsed the night, and the Baby Bombers will become the Staten Island Direwolves on Aug. 8 with special jerseys and a new logo. Holley got the team's opponent, the Hudson Valley Renegades, to wear "Game of Thrones" gear, too; the Renegades will become the Lannisters.
Martin and HBO are allowing the night to go on with a few caveats. Although Direwolves hats will be given to the first 2,500 fans into the park, the team can't sell merchandise or promote the game as "Game of Thrones" night. Instead, it's a night to honor Martin, whose series has sold more than 60 million books worldwide. Holley said Martin will sign autographs and host a meet-and-greet with fans. The jerseys worn by the teams will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to one of Martin's favorite charities, the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.
The Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees isn't the first to have a night honoring "Game of Thrones." In April, the Durham Bulls, the Tampa Bay Rays' Triple-A affiliate, honored the popular book series and TV show with a promotional night.