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Ryan Cohen's Foolish $1K GameStop Gift Card Giveaway To Wealthy Athletes

Ryan Cohen GameStop Gift Card Texas Rangers
This is a REALLY bad look.

GameStop's Grand Slam Giveaway: A Misstep in Morale?

In an age where social media maneuvers can define the public image of an individual or a company, Ryan Cohen, CEO of GameStop, seems to have hit a foul ball with his latest tweet. The chief executive promised a $1,000 GameStop gift card to every player of the Texas Rangers if they clinched the World Series title. Now, with the Rangers’ victory, this pledge is due to be fulfilled, and it has stirred up more than just celebratory chatter.

The Swing...

Here's the pitch that started it all:

Ryan Cohen GameStop Gift Card Texas Rangers
Out-of-touch billionaire tweet of the year?

Cohen took to Twitter with a pledge that had many fans cheering but left others scratching their heads. His promise of gift cards for multimillionaire baseball players came during a time when his own company is publicly tightening its belt.

The optics? Less than flattering.

...And the Miss

GameStop, the one-time darling of meme stock mania (as I know quite well), is currently like a team in the bottom of the ninth, trying to stave off defeat.

Ryan Cohen GameStop Gift Card Texas Rangers
Less-than-stellar optics

Amidst cuts to benefits, warranties, and membership perks, GameStop's internal memo, which I dissected in a previous video, emphasized sacrifice and hard work as essential to turning the company's fortunes around.

Cohen’s letter to the employees painted a picture of a struggling retailer in need of everyone pulling together. Against this backdrop, the gesture to the Texas Rangers seems less like a home run and more like a strikeout.

The Foul Ball

Critics have taken a swing at Cohen's move, and it's not hard to see why. When you break down the numbers, the figures just seem off. On one side, there's the cost-cutting at GameStop that directly affects employees who are asked to dig deep and push harder. On the other, there’s the CEO handing out lavish gifts to athletes whose yearly contracts dwarf the salaries of the very employees facing cutbacks.

This juxtaposition raises questions, with one Twitter user bluntly encapsulating the sentiment:

"So let me get this straight, $GME is cutting Pro, Warranty, and now even Employee Benefits, but their CEO is giving thousands away in gift cards to people with contract deals in the millions? Apes will somehow still say it's bullish I'm sure, but this is sad."

A Curveball for Supporters

As someone who has been a vocal supporter of Ryan Cohen and GameStop's underdog story, this recent play hits a sour note. What was likely intended as a clever marketing ploy comes off as a tone-deaf act by a billionaire out of sync with his company's and customers' reality. In the struggle for positive optics and brand promotion, this feels like a misplay that sends the wrong message to the hardworking employees back at the stores and the loyal customer base.

The Final Score

While a CEO's social media presence can certainly add a dynamic layer to a company's image, there's a fine line between promotion and insensitivity. Cohen's well-intentioned swing aimed to generate positive buzz but instead highlighted a disconnect between the company's public struggles and its private actions.

For GameStop, a company in the midst of a critical turnaround, every move counts. And for its CEO, ensuring that corporate actions reflect a consistent and sensitive message is as important as the bottom line. This giveaway may be a win for the Texas Rangers, but for GameStop's morale and public image, it's hard not to see it as a loss.

In the end, I'm left pondering the true cost of such a giveaway, not in dollars, but in the trust and motivation of a workforce striving to save a company they believe in. As the dust settles on this World Series spectacle, one can only hope that future pitches by GameStop's leadership will be more attuned to the values of teamwork and shared sacrifice they espouse.


For a deeper analysis of GameStop's internal memo and how this event ties into the ongoing narrative, you can check out my video here.

17 views2 comments


Conversely, the Rangers could generate unbridled goodwill by turning around and giving those $1,000 gift cards to randomly selected fans in the stadium of a future game. Granted, this will all have blown over by spring training, but it's a brilliant PR move that could turn GameStop's strikeout into a home run for Texas.

Smash JT
Smash JT
Nov 02, 2023
Replying to

true, but then that puts the onus on the Texas Rangers, when Ryan could have done it in the name of the win and given the cards out to gamers instead!

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