From the April 29, 2005 Philadelphia Business Journal print edition--better late than never
Peter Key, Staff Writer
When Paul Altobelli took his 11-year-old daughter Rachel to a Philadelphia Phillies game a few weeks ago, she was disappointed that she didn't get to meet any of the players. The following week, he got a chance to cure her disappointment.
Altobelli, a Cherry Hill resident, brought her to the first area event held by Players Choice Platinum Club, which gives baseball fans a chance to get up close and personal with members of their favorite team.
Rachel got to socialize and have her picture taken with Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, outfielder Jason Michaels and shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
"She just thought I was the greatest daddy ever," Altobelli said.
That's the type of reaction Ravi Kothare hopes the Platinum Club will evoke frequently in the years ahead.
Kothare, a New York financial planner who lives in Voorhees, N.J., launched the club earlier this year as the first venture of Affinity Club Network LLC, a Philadelphia business he heads.
The club, which is the only organization of its kind licensed by the Major League Baseball Players Association, charges members $19.95 a month, although Kothare said he's thinking of having annual memberships for less.
Members get to attend, for a fee, meet-and-greets, such as the one Altobelli went to with his daughter, and other events, including dinners, golf tournaments and baseball and softball clinics. They also can buy discounted merchandise at the club's online store. And they can earn points for discounts on events and special merchandise.
Players are paid to attend the events, but they get something out of them besides money.