Sacramento Mountain Lions raise funds for the Discovery Museum

Brad Schmidt

The Sacramento Mountain Lions continue to show their support for local organizations by teaming up with The Discovery Museum in the fight to raise money for their new science and space center, The Powerhouse Science Center.

The Discovery Museum was the Mountain Lions non-profit honoree for last weekend’s game against the Las Vegas Locomotives. At halftime the museum received a check for $15,000 from Intel and a $3,000 portion of the game’s ticket sales.

“We have been very fortunate to partner with great Sacramento organizations like Intel and the Mountain Lions,” said Peter Willson, the Powerhouse Science Center’s director of development.

Each of the Mountain Lions’ home games this season will have a featured charity that is given the opportunity to raise money by selling tickets.

“The Mountain Lions do such a good job promoting their games that we were actually having a hard time finding to people to go to the game that didn’t already have tickets,” Willson said.

Keaton Raphael Memorial was the featured charity for the Mountain Lions first home game. The Goodwill and Autism Speaks will be the featured charities in the remaining two home games.

“We ask the community to believe in what we do and since we haven’t existed very long, we are really trying to sell air,” said Joe Wagoner, the Mountain Lions’ director of business management. “So besides just being the right thing to do, there are benefits to tying ourselves to something that the community is familiar with.”

By partnering with local organizations like the Discovery Museum, the Mountain Lions are able to tap into a network of the community they would not have reached otherwise.

“Charities have a wide range of ways to connect with Sacramento for us,” Wagoner said. “Whether it’s e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or word of mouth from people associated with the organization, we reap the benefits.”

The Mountain Lions were expecting the Discovery Museum to sell about 1,000 tickets and at $20 a ticket, that will net the museum a $10,000 profit.

The Discovery Museum will put the money raised toward the construction of the center’s new location at the PG&E Power Station on the Sacramento River in Old Sacramento.

The Discovery Science Center has nearly 30 founding partners helping to raise the $50 million needed for the project. Among the 30 partners are Hewlett Packard, who has pledged to providing the Powerhouse Science Center with its information structure and Synergy, who has pledged to provide the center with a hydrogen fuel cell.

“We have been in Sacramento for 60 years and with 90,000 visitors each year we have finally outgrown our current quarters,” said Beth Callahan, the museum’s development and marketing director.

The Powerhouse Science Center will feature exhibit space for current and traveling exhibits as well as a newly expanded and updated Planetarium and Challenger Learning Center. Movies, laser shows, astronomy programs and a café with outdoor seating will also be a part of the museum’s new headquarters.

As the Mountain Lions continue the effort of expanding their popularity within the community, organizations like the Discovery Museum are eager to lend a helping hand.

“We are happy to welcome the Mountain Lions to Sacramento and happy to support them,” Callahan said. “We feel education and recreation go hand and hand, so the our partnership works very well. The Mountain Lions’ cheerleaders have spent time at the museum meeting fans and signing autographs, which is something we really appreciate.”

The charity program is more proof that the Mountain Lions are trying to cement their stay here in Sacramento. By making connections with businesses and organizations, they are building great relationships and gaining some much needed promotion.

“You can always spend a lot of money in advertisements, which we do,” Wagoner said. “But you just can’t beat word of mouth marketing. There is no substitute for getting people to talk about being excited about your product.”

Brad Schmidt can be reached at [email protected]