Full Contact CEO Season 4
Zack Frongillo has been a baseball fan all his life, a Red Sox Fan as a matter of fact. So when he received a video message from the Savannah Bananas owner Jesse Cole asking to join the team as the Director of Entertainment, he jumped at the opportunity to bring his talents down to Georgia. Tune in as we learn what it takes to run a Banana Ball game and take a backstage tour of that 9-inning circus.
Who is Zack Frongillo
Zack grew up in Littleton Colorado where he played almost every sport imaginable. But although he’s a huge baseball fan, it was dancing that seemed to really become a passion of his. Due to the fact that Zack suffered from a few sports-related concussions, Zack had to set aside baseball. During the off-season, his sisters were part of the school theater program. They asked him to come out and audition and something clicked.
Zack continued his dancing at UNLV where he was a part of the dance program in a city that knows how to put on a show.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights
At first, Zack wanted to dance his way to Broadway, yet it was the opportunity to go over to Seoul Korea during college that cemented his interest in ballet which we’ll speak about later.
Not long after his return, The Las Vegas Golden Knights posted open auditions for the ice crew and promo team members. It was the first year entering the NHL and with it being an expansion team at the beginning of the NHL’s new-found popularity, the organization was looking to really put on a show.
Zack grew up playing hockey, he could skate, he could dance, he could entertain a crowd. He obviously got the job and he absolutely loved it. Everything he had done up until that point in his life had led to this moment. He was a hybrid of the ice crew and promo crew because he was a jack of all trades.
The biggest piece of advice Zack gave us when it comes to game-day entertainment is to find people who aren’t afraid to go out there on the field and have fun. Yes, fans are there for a hockey game but they are also there for a full entertainment experience from start to finish.
“I don’t remember the score of the first game I went to as a kid, but I remember how I felt through the entire experience.”
Taking Inspiration From Other Sports
Zack and his team both at the Golden Knights and currently at the Bananas, spend a lot of time checking out other sporting events for inspiration. Whether it was going to another hockey game, watching golf on TV, or even a big league game, Zack is constantly looking to bring something new to the table.
But it wasn’t just other sports teams Zack was taking bits from. He was watching sitcoms, movies, and now with Tik Tok, taking bits and pieces from viral videos.
The goal is for the fans to think or say “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that was a baseball game.
From Vegas to Bannaland
So how did Zack end up in Savannah directing every Banana live show? It was towards the end of the COVID sports era, with fake crowd noise and no fans. Zack receives a video message from a guy in a yellow tux and it happened to be Jesse Cole.
“We both had very similar ideas on where baseball was going wrong and entertainment as a whole.”
Zack ended up taking the job just at the beginning of the invention of Banana Ball. And in case you don’t know what Banana Ball is, it’s their own version of baseball. It includes some wild rules that make baseball move a lot faster and far more entertaining. Just think if a fan catches a foul ball, that batter is out!
The biggest difference for Zack is that he wasn’t working directly with players back in Vegas and now in Savannah he was creating a show where the baseball players for the main characters.
“You’re gonna have to ask these guys to dance. You know, you’re gonna have to ask them to go take a little girl on an ice cream date. They need to trust you and they need to understand that you have their back just as much as they have your back.”
Fans First Experience
Zack, Jesse, and the entire Banana staff pride themselves on being “fans first,” so much so their company is called Fans First Entertainment. They learned pretty quickly that the show they were putting on was a big hit obviously first in Savannah and then in other parts of the South. Now they are embarking on a World Tour that will take them all across the country.
As a fan, you have to expect the unexpected. A dancing first base coach, a batter on stilts, and even a few World Series winners stepping onto the field for an inning or two!
Listen to the entire episode above to hear more about Zack Frongillo and his mission with the Savannah Bananas.