Please Don’t Take Me Out To The Ball Game

April 20, 2010

Everyone’s talking about the Blue Jays and what a shame it is that Toronto isn’t behind them… or in the stands.

I’m not a Jay’s fan. I’m not a baseball fan.
I am, however, a (relatively new) Raptors fan.

I see being a fan as making an emotional investment in a team/brand… So I would like to look at how, besides the sport itself, does one get invested in a team (the raps as my example). Also, because my life revolves around socmed, I will use it as an example and see what basic socmed lessons/theories to relate to this situation.

Hopefully, after analyzing these two aspects, we can have a better idea as to how the Jays can improve their fan base and ticket sales.

Building a Foundation
The most basic case for social media is that you do it to build a community around you so that it’s there for you; and if anything goes wrong, you already have evangelists in place – rather than scrambling to get people on your side in the heat of disaster.

The Jays need to look at what they are doing in terms of community building and figure out new ways to reach out to their potential community… and that means *beyond* a marketing strategy revolving around cheap tickets, which is my impression of what it has been recently.

Personification
Another socmed basic is personification – people want to know the people behind the brand… one becomes invested in the people behind the brand. I became a raps fan after meeting a couple of really nice players… then I found myself checking scores… now, I’m a full-on, standing-on-my-seat-cheering (or heckling the opposing team) fan. It’s an evolution that started with a personification of the team.

The Jays need to consider who their stars are and who their personalities are (or could be). By personalities, I mean spokespeople, community people, players with big ones (personalities that is), and existing evangelists.

Rant
I don’t know who does the Jays’ marketing, and I’m writing this in response to all their “feel sorry for us” press. And while this next part is pretty negative, I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes; rather, offer a different perspective – one from the person who isn’t into sports but could be, from a Torontonian who loves her city, from a community builder, and one from someone who, frankly, is just jaded… I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: you don’t get points for coming out.

With the jays, I get it – this year they seem to not completely suck… but why didn’t they have the foundation down for a community already? Why don’t they have real people /stars/ spokespeople out making friends… writing blogs… something! So we can become emotionally invested in the people on the team…

And if they are doing it already, then maybe they aren’t promoting it well, because I haven’t seen anything of the sort. In fact, when friends suggested going last year, it was only because of cheap tickets (I think it was a toonie tuesday promo?).

“Lets go because its basically free”? If that’s what your value has been equated to, then you have bigger issues than a lack of bums-in-seats.

You can’t put your hands behind your head and say, “meh, they will come.” Well, you already have done that… So instead of starting at zero, you’re starting at -20 because your lazy approach these past couple of years has tarnished your image.

Good luck Jays. You will need it.

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8 Responses to “Please Don’t Take Me Out To The Ball Game”

  1. karimkanji Says:

    Great post and thoughts Melissa. And thanks again for posting your “rant” on my blog.

  2. Tracy Says:

    agreed!! i think you hit the nail on the head with some of those points. Social Media is probably one of the most undervalued strategic programs in all industries.

    http://www.tracyzhangphoto.wordpress.com/


  3. Thanks guys!

    Overall, if what you’re doing isn’t working… its time to change what you’re doing.

    I hope they make some changes and stop bitching about why no one is coming.

  4. tiffany Says:

    The jays are starting.. A friend of mine has just been hired to tweet and blog for them. Follow @thestoryofagirl for personality!

  5. Joel Reilly Says:

    Great write up Melissa!

    it will be interesting to see how they move forward.
    If they are hitting all time lows in attendance in april imagine what it will be like in August. I think they realize that they need to do something….well thats my hope.

    That being said im heading out today to take in my 1st game of the year tonight!

    nice work. keep it up


  6. thanks tiff for letting us know – looking forward to seeing how their new socmed personality pans out.

    Joel – let me know how the game goes, whether they try anything new/fun/interactive and how the attendance is!!!

  7. Chantelle Says:

    Great post! happy to see that everyone else is in the same page as me. The Jays are the only team in Canada and should be doing so much more to engage fans from coast to coast, not just. I am a die-hard fan, and I feel that the team has great potential. Now they need to work hard to bring the fans back to the ballpark.

    Thanks for posting, keep up the good work.

  8. Ben Says:

    dead on!

    1. i have started following the Iniesta (Barca player) blog since i found out about it, definitely brings me closer to the team and i’m looking forward to flying to Spain to see their game
    http://www.andresiniesta.es/blog/?language=en

    2. i have rejected all the free jays tickets in the past. even though they r in Toronto i know nothing about the team!

    =)


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