PEMBROKE — Baseball fans in Savannah have been going bananas since Jesse Cole brought a summer collegiate team to the Peach State five years ago.
Cole, the founder of Fans First Entertainment and owner of the Savannah Bananas, has welcomed more than one million fans to Grayson Stadium and has been featured on MSNBC, CNN and ESPN. Cole’s teams have been awarded Organization of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Business of the Year and have won three Coastal Plain League Championships.
Cole will share his success story as the first presenter of the 2021-2022 Distinguished Speaker Series at UNC Pembroke on October 12. He will speak at 7 p.m. at Givens Performing Arts Center.
The Savannah Bananas have made going to a baseball game an experience and have become the greatest show in the game. The summer collegiate team emphasizes the fan experience and social media notoriety as the game itself.
Former UNCP All-American Ethan Baucom suited up for the Bananas during the 2019 season and won the Fan Fest Home Run Derby.
A former college baseball standout turned entrepreneur, Cole and his marketing team’s promotional stunts include recreating scenes from famous baseball movies to performing professionally choreographed dances. Cole dresses for every game in his trademark canary-yellow tuxedo and is considered a modern-day P.T. Barnum of baseball.
The Bananas have sold out every game for two straight seasons and have a waiting list for tickets. Cole released his first book, “Find Your Yellow Tux–How to Be Successful by Standing Out,” in 2018 and is the host of the Business Done Differently podcast.
The Distinguished Speaker Series is presented by the Office of Campus Engagement and Leadership and GPAC. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for faculty/staff/children and free for UNCP students with a valid ID.
Cole’s visit is cosponsored by the School of Business.