Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


Bengals: Why not a Who Dey Caravan?

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Who Dey Caravan?

I've always marveled at the concept of the Reds Caravan. It takes place in the dead of winter, less than a month from players reporting to Spring Training. Current and former players, broadcasters and members of the Reds front office gather to make the trip.

This year, the Reds Caravan will make 12 fan stops across five tours and six days. They reach four states: Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia

Why? To make an investment in the fan base and to spread Reds talk and grow the fan base.

For all the good the Bengals have done on-field, off-field and with fan engagement, isn't a natural next step a Who Dey Caravan?

I've presented this idea in the past and it was often met with a blank star or a quick wave off and dismissal. I wonder if that was simply the result of the Bengals being a losing franchise when I discussed the idea?

What about now? The Bengals have shown tremendous growth and appreciation in connecting with their fan base. They are in the Joe Burrow Era of Bengals football, three consecutive winning seasons, a Super Bowl followed by an AFC Championship game. The team's social media presence and impact is off the charts. Fans can't get enough of the Bengals. They have created a Ring of Honor. They have upgraded the stadium experience.

Consider the potential of a Who Dey Caravan. The franchise could take Bengals football to the fans for a chance to reach out, shake hands, sign autographs, take pictures and promote Bengals football. I believe the Bengals have 37 radio affiliates: 23 affiliates in Ohio, 9 Kentucky, 5 West Virginia. Consider the TV/radio airtime and website and social media space that would be devoted to the Bengals during a caravan. You can't put a price on that promotional value and investment in the fan base.

The caravan could lead into the start of training camp each year. Make the official kickoff to football!

Imagine current and former Bengals players/coaches, front office people, broadcasters and cheerleaders boarding buses to travel the region.

I'm just spitballing here, but imagine these six tours/possible radio station affiliate stops and potential pairings:

Dayton and Columbus: Ja'Mar Chase, Isaac Curtis, Max Montoya, Sam Hubbard

Athens and Lancaster: Joe Burrow, Ken Anderson, Ted Karras, Anthony Munoz

Louisville and Lexington: Ickey Woods, DJ Reader, Solomon Wilcots, Mike Hilton

Ashland and Paintsville: Willie Anderson, Alex Cappa, David Fulcher, Dax Hill

Huntington and Ripley: Dan Hoard, Logan Wilson, Jim Breech, Evan McPherson

Lima and Findlay: Dave Lapham, Orlando Brown, Andrei Iosivas, Eric Thomas

What a way to connect to fans and expand a fan base.

As I always say, what's the downside?

I checked out some other NFL teams that have done a caravan over the years:

Colts Tailgate Tour:
The Colts Tailgate Tour travels around the state of Indiana throughout June and July and feature Colts players and cheerleaders.

Broncos Country Caravan:
The Broncos Country Caravan is an opportunity for fans in communities outside of the Denver Metro area to engage and connect with the Broncos through events that include: local hospital visits, autograph sessions with a Broncos Alumni, Cheerleaders and Miles the Mascot, as well as a celebration that declares each city an official member of Broncos Country.

Jaguars Caravan:
The Jaguars Caravan puts players, coaches, ROAR cheerleaders and other special guests in the travelling Jaguars RV which will stop in seven cities to engage with the team’s regional fans.“We know that a lot of Jaguars fans live beyond our five-county area, so this is an effort to bring our ‘All In’ message to them,” said Mark Lamping, president of the Jaguars. “We’re working hard to build and expand our fan base, and we want these fans to have the opportunity to meet some of the players they root for on Sundays. The caravans should be a lot of fun and we hope to see a great turnout in each city.

Titans Caravan:
The Tennessee Titans, along with the incredible support of our partners at Titans Radio, conduct an annual Caravan that travels throughout Tennessee, southern Kentucky and northern Alabama. We have visited nearly 400 cities in five states and made over 450 total stops. We've traveled nearly 35,000 total miles and taken thousands of pictures.

Cardinals Caravan:
Arizona Cardinals players, team mascot Big Red, cheerleaders and front office personnel take to the road for the "Cardinals Caravan Tour" to cultivate fan relationships, visit radio affiliates, and have a presence in community activities in Arizona during the month of March.

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