Despite the immense success of MLB.com, most of the Major League teams have been slow to fully embrace the potential of social media engagement in the way that other sports entities, especially the NHL, have. Partially because of the length of the season and the cost of implementing extensive programs, as well as the fact that MLB.com controls all aspects of a teams digital footprint. clubs really haven’t jumped at chances to totally immerse or engage, until now.
The Cleveland Indians announced an extensive social media engagement platform this past week, along the lines of what the New Jersey Devils have championed and led for the NHL. The Tribe will dedicate an area at Progressive Field to have those engaged in various platforms interact, and will reward those following and innovating online with special programs as a result of their loyalty to the Indians. They are also encouraging team front office staff to interact via social media platforms, giving fans more of an inside look into what is going o. during a long baseball season.? While no lengthy platforms have been created for access to Indians players as of yet, it will be interesting to see how far the engagement goes and what buzz can be created on site during games for fans accessing the Indians various platforms. Will there be reactions to tweets and Facebook posts during games as to in-game decision.? can customer service issues in the stadium be alleviated in real tim.? Will broadcast content be mixed into the fol. Then of course, is how does all this make money for the tea. Are there software partners willing to do promotions or test products with the group.? Will an apparel company come along with a special offer for branded merc.? How about a memorabilia company offering up instant signed product to member.? All remains to be seen. What is important is that the Indians are taking a value and leadership role amongst MLB clubs in social media. Some like the Tigers and White Sox have found value in communicating through their communications heads directly to the fans, and that has paid off well. However to have the front office as a whole give buy in, and then to invest hard dollars into a dedicated area for fans in the ballpark, is another matter entirely.
One thing is for sure. If the move increases fan loyalty, moves tickets and generates buzz, other teams will adopt. If not, it was a smart try for a team looking to continue to regain its footing and see what its fans want in a challenged environment. Good push, great effort for The Indians, hopefully with positive results to come.