CINCINNATI – The Reds’ miserable start to the 2018 season could be good news for Kevin Ward’s customers in Bridgetown and bad news for Ward’s bottom line.
The sign outside Wardway Fuels in Bridgetown is offering $1 off the price of a grill for every Reds’ loss. That means the Reds’ 3-15 record is already worth $15 to grill buyers.
"The idea just popped into my head to do a cheesy promotion like that," said Ward, who proclaims himself a devouted Reds fan. "I don't think there's any other companies as stupid as me!"
So far, though, Ward hasn’t had to pony up much.
"With the weather, as you can guess, it's been a little slower than usual,” he said about grill sales. “The last couple of weeks have picked up despite the cold temperatures. Usually things get cranking in March. That hasn't been the case this year."
But Ward also realizes that Reds fans might be holding out for bigger discounts.
"I guess they'll wait till next month, when the losses pile up, to cash in their chips,” Ward said Thursday after the Reds fired manager Bryan Price. “Who knows - maybe one of the Castellinis saw the sign, decided to change managers for us, and cut our losses."
Ward says he's hopes the Reds don’t end up losing 94 games like they have the past two seasons, or 98 like they did in 2015. That could get expensive.
"I don't hope to be giving 50 bucks off a grill any time soon. We'd rather see success, and run our normal type of sales, rather than hinging it on the Reds’ success," Ward said.
The Reds’ struggles are also cutting down on sales of Reds’ gear at Koch’s Sporting Goods in Downtown.
"The Reds have always been number one here, but it's been tough," part owner Greg Koch said. "We're not seeing as much in the simple things, the new hats, and T-shirts. Stuff like that."
On the other hand, FC Cincinnati gear is flying off the shelves, Koch said.
"FC is hot. Let's face it, it's the team that's winning," Koch said.
Koch says the shop typically sees a lull in Reds' buyers after Opening Day, but it’s worse this year and has been since the team started rebuilding – and losing – in 2014.
“It's a little more pronounced now,” Koch said. “Things aren't going well now. It's been this way for a couple years now. We haven't seen a lot of excitement to begin the season. It really makes a difference."