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02/04/11 6:20 PM EST

Phils offer text alerts to season-ticket holders

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are breaking new ground when it comes to communicating with season-ticket holders.

In effort to provide added value, the Phils have become the first team in Major League Baseball to offer their season-ticket holders exclusive text message alerts.

"This is just one more way that's a quick and effective way to communicate information to our season-ticket holders," director of season-ticket sales Derek Schuster said.

Season-ticket holders who sign up will receive text alerts about their accounts, as well as game time changes, weather issues that may threaten a game, press releases and other reminders.

Currently, the team has an e-mail list that it sends alerts to. But Schuster knows that with the amount of e-mail that is received, team announcements can get lost.

"Everyone gets so many e-mails these days that you can lose track," Schuster said. "But people always have their phones, and it's a quick and efficient way for us to reach out to season-ticket holders -- and not only give them information, but also help them to manage their accounts."

To register, season ticket holders can fill out the online registration form on phillies.com.

While the Phillies are the first team to launch the program, other teams are likely to follow suit in the coming weeks and months.

Their tremendous success on the field -- the Phillies have captured the National League East in each of the last four seasons and won the World Series in 2008 -- has certainly helped build the organization's season-ticket-holder base. In fact, the team is sold out of season tickets for the 2011 season.

The challenge the club faces now is finding ways to continue to keep its most loyal customers happy.

"We're not trying to sell anything through this program," Schuster said. "We're looking for any way we can to give our season-ticket holders more value -- and find the best way to reach out to them, keep them informed, and let them know how much we appreciate them."

The program was launched on Jan. 14 and the first text message is not set to go out until Feb. 14, when pitchers and catchers begin reporting to Spring Training.

"We haven't done a lot to promote it yet," Schuster said. "But the numbers have been growing steadily, and we've been very pleased with the response so far."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.