The MLB and Snapchat

MLB Snapchat

Of the MLB’s numerous social media platforms, Twitter has served as the most extensive and best at building brand awareness (right now). The graph below (obtained via marketingland.com) shows the Twitter “pull” for each team compared to the industry average, and I found it interesting enough to include in this installment of my blog. A link is provided at the end of this post that redirects to the full report.


Information obtained via marketingland.com


However, my post today discusses a new partnership between the MLB and the Snapchat app; a partnership that has become extremely popular on the “My Story” portion of the app, and could be highly beneficial for both parties involved. For those of you unfamiliar with Snapchat, the app is essentially a social image sharing platform that allows individuals to send self-taken photos to one another with a minimal amount of text included. The MLB is utilizing this app to feature fan generated content. The content content will appear on Snapchat’s ‘Our Stories’, a feature that pieces together users videos and photos at a specific location. These photo/video collages will be displayed on either Wednesdays or Thursdays of each week. While there wasn’t a monetary exchange in this agreement, a high amount of upside is present.

For Major League Baseball this partnership is simple, it allows extensive access to an overwhelmingly young audience. Much like the MLB Fan Cave (as discussed in my previous post), the league is continually aiming to capture youthful attention. In a recent comScore report it was indicated that around 71% of U.S. Snapchat users are between the ages 17-34 (view here: http://bit.ly/1bRRKwg ) . When this is compared to the average viewing age of 54 (view here: http://bloom.bg/1ETzECO ), capturing the younger market is vital for the livelihood of the league. For Snapchat, it is the first sports market niche that the company has obtained. This gives Snapchat access to previously untapped revenue and advertising for the live-streaming industry. These MLB stories could become an ideal environment for feature ads in the foreseeable future, which would have quite the monetary benefit.

All-in-all, I see this deal struck by the MLB to be an advantageous one. Once again, they are capitalizing on a social trend and using it on a mass scale to generate brand awareness. This innovative approach should be a great way for the MLB to appeal to younger audiences, generate social media buzz on sites like Twitter, and form partnerships that will continue to further its digital agenda.


MLB Snapchat Screenshots
MLB Snapchat Screenshots

Drive Home Safely,

Bryan White, MBA

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*Link to marketingland.com’s outstanding article on MLB Twitter influence:

http://marketingland.com/redsox-2nd-influential-mlb-team-twitter-105990

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The MLB Fan Cave: Was it a failed social experiment?

MLB Fan Cave

Upon its inception, the MLB Fan Cave was considered the innovative invention in baseball that would allow fans to interact with players like never before. Initially launched in 2011, the ‘cave’ (located on 4th Street and Broadway in New York) was an attempt to bring the social media realm and avid baseball fans together under one roof. The inhabitants, affectionately referred to as ‘cave dwellers’, recorded their experiences through social media, blogs, and videos, as well as hosting concerts, fan events, and celebrity guests. In its initial phases, MLB Exec. Tim Brosnan describe ‘The Cave’ as follows:

“The MLB Fan Cave grew out of our desire to address three specific areas in which we saw opportunity for growth: engaging with fans via social media, both at the league level and through players; reaching younger fans and converting casual baseball fans into more avid followers; and raising the profile of our players by showcasing their off-field personalities.”  —Tim Brosnan, MLB Executive Vice President of Business

While the Fan Cave enjoyed 4 solid years to successful social interaction, it was announced that it would be shut down in February 2015. Statements released stated that ceasing the program was part of the MLB’s attempt to consolidate all social media activities under the MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network umbrellas. This leaves individuals with one lingering question: Was the endeavor a failure?

In my personal opinion, it was anything but. The MLB Fan Cave gave fans the chance to see baseball heaven personified. The images still burn bright in my memory of iconic players like David Ortiz, Yasiel Puig, Aroldis Chapman, and many others taking time out of their busy schedules to stop by and talk baseball with their beloved constituents. If anything, the MLB Fan Cave was a tremendous tool in the sense that it linked baseball fans to the human element of the brand. I followed their Facebook page religiously; always awaiting the next awesome experience that would take place within its confines. The MLB Fan Cave used Facebook to target a younger demographic (and succeeded), elevated the status of baseball’s star players, and positioned the game as once again relevant to pop culture. Statistics heavily support my claims. At its end, the Fan Cave had around 1,008,000 Facebook fans and 200,000+ Twitter followers. There was also a great deal of sports journalism buzz, being featured in prints like The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and Sports Illustrated. The project may have cave-d in, but the success was both innovative and measurable. While baseball has conglomerated all of its social media operations into a much more simplified entity, I sure wish they’d revisit the days like these.

Drive Home Safely,

Bryan White, MBA

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: Aroldis Chapman and Bronson Arroyo of the Cincinnati Reds perform for a skit at the MLB Fan Cave Monday, June 16, 2012, at Broadway and 4th Street in New York City. (Photo by Jason Yeadon/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Aroldis Chapman;Bronson Arroyo
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 16: Aroldis Chapman and Bronson Arroyo of the Cincinnati Reds perform for a skit at the MLB Fan Cave Monday, June 16, 2012, at Broadway and 4th Street in New York City. (Photo by Jason Yeadon/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Aroldis Chapman;Bronson Arroyo

MLB Social Media: A Learning Tool for the Corporate Realm?

MLB

While many individuals look at professional sport simply as a form of entertainment, there are several business practices conducted within daily operations that can set a strong precedent for the corporate business setting. In this installment of my blog, I will discuss three methods the MLB uses in social media that would be beneficial for a company to imitate.

A simplified way to view all social media channels


One beautiful thing that the MLB does, and does very well, is how easily accessible it makes each of its social media channels. To access any MLB social channel, all one has to do is simply go to the Social Media Clubhouse on mlb.com. From this page, the MLB’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr channels are all available for access. This would be a beneficial for a company to adopt because it makes it a great deal easier for consumers to gain large quantities of information about a respective brand.

Off-season or “slow season” opportunities


During the off-season, spanning November to late February, the MLB utilizes Twitter to give fans several opportunities to win player/team merchandise and tickets for next season. This sweepstakes approach is very useful for generating brand buzz in periods of consumer idleness, a strategy that could be effectively implemented in seasonal type industries like retail and outdoor entertainment (golf courses came to mind almost immediately).

Adding the human element to a digital entity


One of my favorite things that the MLB does with social media is allow players to take over team and league Twitter feeds for a certain period of time. Sports fans crave personal access to their beloved players, and this method gives the consumer exactly what they desire. Individual teams are also taking action on this front, posting in-game pictures and fun snapshots of a typical player’s day at the ballpark. I strongly believe in this method because corporations need to make sure there is a human presence in the social realm that current and potential consumers can associate a brand with. This creates ease in online interaction by making the consumer feel that they are engaging with another human on an intimate level.

I feel that all of the aforementioned would be advantageous for companies looking to enhance their brand image and build sustainable competitive advantages. Each of these methods conducted by the MLB help consumers feel more welcomed and invited to participate in the social side of baseball.

Drive home safely,

Bryan White, MBA

Below is a link for mlb.com’s Social Media Clubhouse. Check it out!

http://wapc.mlb.com/connect

For the Love of the Game…

Prince Fielder celebrates a walk-off HR during his playing years with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Prince Fielder celebrates a walk-off HR during his playing years with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Hello all,

There are few things in society today that captivate individuals like competitive sport. We become so fixated at the results of sports competitions that we allow it to consume our afternoons, weekends, Monday morning office conversations, and social media feeds. With the NFL deep in its post-draft offseason and the NBA playoffs winding down, baseball fever will shortly be in full swing. Soon, ballparks all across the continental United States will be flooded with families and high school/college students looking to get the most out of their summers. Naturally, spectacles such as this are both highly lucrative and highly marketable.

When Bill James and Michael Lewis began pioneering the ‘Moneyball’ movement, they knew they were on to something. However, they couldn’t have possibly fathomed how universal it would become. As more and more teams place emphasis on stats like WHIP (Walks/Hits per Inning pitched) and OBPS (On-Base Percentage plus Slugging), the need for advanced analytics continues to skyrocket. “Big Data” has deeply embedded itself into baseball, and with exemplary players like Mike Trout cashing in, the importance to unlocking its secrets has become essential. 

At the same time, the social media realm has become one with the professional sports world. With shows like ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, the art of the clever sports tweet has reach a new high. Combining this with how active sports figures are on social sites like Twitter, fans are starving for a greater social presence from their beloved organizations.

My name is Bryan White and I am an MBA candidate at Radford University. Baseball has always been a passion of mine, having played since the age of 4 until my collegiate career concluded at Milligan College. My playing years have taken me to various college campuses and cities all across the U.S., and I bleed ‘Cincy Red’ March through October. Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing how major league baseball organizations are using advanced marketing analytics and social media interaction to enhance both fan experience at the ballpark and improve on-field quality. Topics that I hope to cover will include team Twitter feeds, corresponding promotional events, advanced data analysis, and how sabermetrics like OBP and player efficiency rating have affected prospect scouting and contract negotiation.

To add to the social media experience, each day I create a post I will be inserting the ‘ baseball stat of the day’ via @MLBStatoftheDay. Thank you for viewing and I hope you enjoy the content that I am able to bring your way!

Drive home safely,

Bryan White, MBA