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The Business of Meetings

Feb 7, 2023

The Business of Meetings – Episode 152 – The Amazing Story of the Savannah Bananas with Jesse Cole

We are excited to have the legendary Jesse Cole joining us today! 

In today's episode, Jesse shares the incredible story behind how he and his wife, Emily, started the famous Savannah Bananas, the year-round baseball team! He also gets into where they are today, their vision, and how he leverages the Savannah Bananas for his projects!

You will absolutely love listening to today’s super-motivating conversation with Jesse Cole!


Jesse Cole is the founder of Fans First Entertainment and the owner of the Savannah Bananas. He’s fanatic about fandom and launched the Savannah Bananas with one mission: to spark a fan-focused movement. Whether at the ballpark, on social media, onstage delivering keynotes, in features for ESPN and Entrepreneur, or in his first book, Find Your Yellow Tux, Jesse continues to create fans all over the world.

The Bananas have sold out every game since their first season and have a waitlist for tickets in the thousands. They have entertained millions of fans in Savannah and at ballparks all over their country on their Banana Ball Tour.

Jesse is the proud inventor of Banana Ball and Dolce & Banana underwear and a not-so-proud promoter of the Human Horse Race and Flatulence Fun Night. He’s a raving fan of his wife, Emily, his kids, and peerless promoters like Walt Disney, PT Barnum, and Bill Veeck. Jesse owns seven yellow tuxedos.

Jesse’s story

Jesse was raised by his dad, who spent hours playing baseball with him and taught him the value of putting in the effort to create something special! 

Jesse played baseball throughout his life. After getting into the baseball industry about fifteen years ago, he tore his shoulder, and his baseball career ended. So, he started working in the front office and began his journey to where he is today.

Savannah Bananas 

Before starting the Savannah Bananas, Jesse spent ten years with the team in Gastonia, North Carolina. He became their GM when he was twenty-three and had to figure out how to make people excited about going to a baseball game. It was much harder than he anticipated, so he tried doing some crazy things!

Then, seven years ago, Jesse and his wife moved to Savannah, Georgia, and had the opportunity to take on an old and historic stadium. Jesse was not successful in selling the way everyone else did because no one took him seriously. So he tried something new. 

A vision

Everything we accomplish in life starts with a vision. Especially in business! Going into Savannah, Jesse and his wife truly believed they could change baseball games, make them fun, and create something people had never seen before! It was tough at first, but they knew their idea would work.

Fans first

Many companies focus solely on chasing customers. However, early on, Jesse and his wife became obsessed with creating fans and decided to focus on putting their fans first. So they named their company Fans First Entertainment.

All-inclusive tickets

They decided to make every ticket all-inclusive so that if the game was terrible, the fans would still get some value for their money because everything, including the food, was included. 

Spicing things up

They decided to spice things up and go all-in on creating an entertaining experience. They hired a dancing coach and choreographed dances for the players. They introduced a banana baby that they lifted, celebrated, and sang to at the start of the match. They even handed out roses to little girls in the middle of the game!

No more marketing

After that, they no longer had to do any marketing. They just shared what they were doing, and people told others about it!


ESPN became aware of what they were doing. So they wrote an article about the Savannah Bananas, which did very well. Then their sports center did a feature on them which also did very well. Then, Jesse and his wife approached ESPN with an idea they had for a show, and they agreed. The show was highly-rated (and still does well today) and led to even bigger things!

Making baseball more fun

Leaning in on making baseball more fun, offering non-stop entertainment, and storytelling, creating memorable moments for fans, and building an idea culture helped them get to where they are today!

No more normal

Doing normal things gets normal results. So they work from the premise of doing the exact opposite of whatever would be deemed normal.

What if

Asking what if, and trying out new things, motivates them to keep finding new and exciting ways to entertain their fans. 

Secondary ticket sellers

Jesse always refused to sell tickets to secondary marketing groups. One group even offered to pay twice the ticket value and buy more than a million dollars worth of tickets. But Jesse refused because that would inflate ticket prices, and hurting their fans goes against everything they stand for.

Living the dream

Jesse’s dream for the future is to continue chasing the energy they created, making people happy, and dancing in front of fans all over the world!

Surrounding yourself with good people

When you share your vision, what you stand for, and what you hope to accomplish, you will attract the best people to work for you!

Connect with Eric

On LinkedIn

On Facebook

On Instagram

On Website

Connect with Jesse Cole

Fans First Entertainment: Bananas For Business

The Savannah Bananas

Jesse’s Books

Fans First

Find Your Yellow Tuxedo