Toronto Blue Jays: The marketing opportunity of a lifetime

TORONTO, ON - JULY 09: The oronto Blue Jays play an intrasquad game at Rogers Centre on July 9, 2020 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 09: The oronto Blue Jays play an intrasquad game at Rogers Centre on July 9, 2020 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

Not everything has gone perfectly for the Blue Jays over the last few months, but they have an incredible opportunity for the franchise in 2021, especially when it comes to re-connecting with Canadian baseball fans.

It’s definitely a major bummer that the Jays have to start the 2021 campaign playing south of the border again, beginning the year using Dunedin as a home field and likely moving to Buffalo later on. That said, there has been significant progress with a Covid-19 vaccine in both the United States and in Canada, and there are plenty of reasons to believe there will be Blue Jays baseball at the Rogers Centre sometime this season.

Most of that will be out of the Blue Jays’ control, but assuming that they can return to their home field they may have the marketing opportunity of a lifetime on their hands.

Think about it, we haven’t seen a game in Toronto since September 29, 2019 when the Jays closed the 2019 campaign at home against the Rays. The team was able to do some workouts at the Rogers Centre last summer before relocating to Buffalo for the regular season where they used Sahlen Field as their home turf. We couldn’t even sit in the stands and cheer the Jays on as they returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

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Let’s say the Blue Jays hypothetically are allowed to play in Canada by August 1st. By that time they could be well positioned to return to the playoffs, which brings it’s own brand of energy to the franchise. As we’ve seen many times over the years, when the Blue Jays have a competitive team the interest is high and the fans will fill the seats. We might not be in for a full stadium right away, and it’s possible the Jays even play with empty stands to begin with after they return to Canada, but simply having them back on Canadian soil will be a step in the right direction, and will mean a lot to people.

And speaking of fan support, the Blue Jays could be emerging at the right time as far as the city of Toronto is concerned. I say that because the NBA’s Toronto Raptors have taken a big step back this year, and it’s looking like they’ll probably even miss the playoffs. Their fan isn’t going to immediately jump ship by any means, but the Raptors are likely in for a bit of a rebuild and this city loves to support a winner. The Maple Leafs might steal some attention if they can succeed in this year’s playoffs, and the FC have an ever-growing fan base, but the Raptors have really been the darling of the city for a while and that season may be coming to an end.

With new faces of the franchise like Bo Bichette, George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and more, the Blue Jays should be doing everything they can to engage the fan base this season. It’s part of why I’m so baffled the decision to simulcast the game rather than have a traditional radio broadcast, or even the infamous “Field Cam”, but those things will be forgiven if the results are positive on the field.

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It’s felt like forever dealing with a pandemic, even if we’re only thinking about it in terms of something simple like baseball, and we’re not quite through it yet. That said, when the Blue Jays return to Canada later this year (yeah, I said “when”), it’ll be a sight for sore eyes, and a chance to light the fan base on fire in an unprecedented way.