ST. LOUIS -- For the first time since the event moved to Milwaukee's downtown Convention Center, the Brewers' annual offseason fan festival will be free of charge.
As part of a series of initiatives aimed at compensating fans for a difficult season on and off the field, the club announced Wednesday that it would not charge admission for Brewers On Deck, which is already set for Sunday, Jan. 26 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. CT at the Wisconsin Center. The event, which typically carries a $9-$20 cost, bridges the gap between Wisconsin's winter and the start of Brewers Spring Training in Phoenix.
"As another way to say 'thank you' to our fans for their incredible support this year, we wanted to do something very special as we head into the 2014 campaign," Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger said. "We are committed to delivering the best fan experience possible, both at Miller Park and in our off-site events, and we expect that free admission to Brewers On Deck will be very popular."
The announcement was part of a series of "Fans First" initiatives unveiled by the Brewers since outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended by Major League Baseball in late July. Throughout August the team provided $10 vouchers to every fan who passed through the turnstiles at Miller Park, good for free concessions, merchandise and game tickets.
Brewers On Deck features autographs and photo sessions with Brewers players and coaches, interactive games for kids, question-and-answer sessions and game shows, vendor booths with baseball memorabilia, the Brewers Community Foundation Treasure Hunt and other activities.
The Brewers will announce details for the autograph sessions at a later date. Last week, Schlesinger said the team was in the preliminary planning stages, and he did not yet know whether Braun would be in attendance.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.