Jack Rouse Associates (JRA) is helping these fan favorites jump off the computer and television screens and into their own home at the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Indiana. Having held its grand opening on December 26, this 25,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art family fun zone aims to make people laugh and draw them closer to the teams they love, while educating families on the art and science of mascots. Offering permanent exhibits, and plenty of activities and fun, this attraction is expected to welcome 50,000 visitors each year and have a $240 million impact on the region over the next 20 years.
The Mascot Hall of Fame is a hall of fame for United States sports mascots. It was founded by David Raymond, who was the original Phillie Phanatic from 1978 to 1993. It was founded as an online-only hall, with an induction ceremony taking place each year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In September 2014, the hall began planning its move to the City of Whiting, Indiana, to develop a permanent Mascot Hall of Fame on the south shore of Lake Michigan.
JRA provided master planning, attraction planning and design, graphic design, media production, art direction, and project management on the new facility.
Each year, mascots are elected into the Mascot Hall of Fame by the voting membership and an executive committee made up of performers, sports executives, and other individuals intimate with the mascot community. The mascots go through a nomination process that ends with the Executive Committee selecting six finalists in each category to be placed on the ballot for consideration. There is a public online vote that contributes a percentage of the final tally. In 2006, the Hall added a separate class to honor college mascots.
The mission of the Mascot Hall of Fame is to honor mascot performers, performances, and programs that have positively affected their communities. The Mascot Hall of Fame has also partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs and holds an online auction contributing to that cause. The main bulk of the items up for auction are pieces of signed sports memorabilia donated by professional sports teams around the nation.
To be eligible for the Mascot Hall of Fame, a mascot must have existed for a minimum of 5 years. They must also impact both their sport and community, inspire their fans, and consistently give memorable and groundbreaking performances.