When you’re not winning on the field, fans are left to evaluate the rest of the overall experience at the game. Everything from the cost, advertising and social media, to promotions and giveaways, fans start to compare the experience with what’s found elsewhere.
For the Toronto Blue Jays, who are not currently seeing the results on the field, some new and creative marketing and promotional activities could help reinforce the experience of being at the ballpark and help to distinguish the organization from the rest of the MLB pack.
Right now, fans get the same family friendly messaging they’ve heard for years – good enough to influence the next generation of fans, but likely not enough to excite a bitter fan base that only tunes in when the team is delivering results.
Jr. Jays Saturdays. The usual bobbleheads. Beach towels, replica hats, and ‘rally poms’. And according to CNN.com, not a whole lot of bang for your buck.
#HateTheHashtag (it’s not even specific to the Blue Jays!)
For goodness sake, it’s the NHL playoffs! We haven’t seen one reactive campaign from the Blue Jays to help steer the conversation back their way. No need to lower ticket prices – just think outside the box and reignite the city’s love for baseball.
So it’s worth noting that the present approach has worked so far. Weekend games are certainly more popular, attendance has been better – it’s highly likely that you know someone who went to their first game this year. Twitter chatter and media coverage is high.
But without the results, the team will have increased their payroll by $40 million just to see empty seats by season’s end.
The Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants are often heralded as organizations that do a great job of engaging their fanbase. When they give out bobbleheads, they look like this or this, not this. While fans in Toronto deal with spotty WiFi at the Rogers Centre, the Giants create a social media centre and drastically improve theirs.
The Mariners had ‘beard hat night’. The Giants have Star Wars Day as well as a slumber party night in the offseason. These special events add an element of excitement beyond what’s happening on the scoreboard, creating an elevated experience and fostering an appreciation for time spent at the ballpark.
There’s a reason fans do silly things like the seventh inning stretch and cheer loudly when asked – for many people, a baseball game is about the event, not just the game.
With an already highly engaged fan base, there is an opportunity to dial up the fun and entertainment at the games. Even if the team is losing, fans will want to come back just because of the experience alone.
Maybe then we’ll see fewer paper airplanes and not hear the loudest cheers when fans run on the field.
Here are some ideas that the team at Jays Journal helped brainstorm. Got any? Feel free to include them in the comments section below or share them with me on Twitter @donnieberaskow:
- R.A. Dickey lookalike night
- Man in White Night (all fans dress in white)
- Canadian Tuxedo Night (all denim night)
- Real Grass Night (first 10,000 fans leave with a 6” X 6” plot of sod)
- Suntan Lotion Giveaway (for the next Red Sox series)
- Rasmus Wig Day
- Dirk Hayhurst Book Giveaway (for the first 10,000 fans)
- #Trending night (every time a target number of mentions is reached, fans get a deal)