Team plans Te'o 'bobblehead' day

Updated: January 18, 2013, 12:44 AM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Businesses looking for attention know how to get it these days: tie it to Manti Te'o, the Notre Dame linebacker in the midst of a fake girlfriend scandal.

On Thursday morning, Spirit Airlines posted an ad on its website proclaiming: "No hoax. These fares are really low," written in Notre Dame's blue and yellow just like its famous "Play Like A Champion Today" sign.

As part of the promotion in late May, the first 1,000 fans would get an empty bobblehead box, there will be a pretend kiss cam for fans to kiss their imaginary friends and there will be an imaginary food fight in the kids' area, as well as an air guitar contest.

Late Thursday evening, an independent baseball team, the Florence (Ky.) Freedom, announced it would have "Manti Te'o Girlfriend Bobblehead Day."

As part of the promotion in late May, the first 1,000 fans will get an empty bobblehead box, there will be a pretend kiss cam for fans to kiss their imaginary friends and there will be an imaginary food fight in the kids' area, as well as an air guitar contest.

"There's not a lot to do to get attention in January," Freedom general manager Josh Anderson said. "You have to find some way to get the buzz."

Anderson said things might die down by May 23, the day of the promotion, but the team is committed to it nonetheless.

Is it too edgy and too soon?

"I don't know who we'd be offending," said Anderson, who said he met his wife online. "It would just be isolated to the guy who made his season based off this story."

Giving away a box of nothing has long been a minor league trick. The last team to famously do this? The Peoria Chiefs, the Chicago Cubs' Single-A affiliate, who in 2011, after the Miami Heat lost to the Mavericks, gave out LeBron James championship rings.

The Freedom hope enough real people come to the promotion. The team drew roughly 2,000 fans a game in its 3,100-seat ballpark last season.

On Wednesday, Deadspin.com broke the story that Te'o's girlfriend, whom he had said died of leukemia, was not a real person. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Te'o, who has yet to speak publicly about the story, was a victim of an online hoax.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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