Best Practices Around The Diamond…Giants and Tigers…

While there is still a bit of hand wringing and worry about baseball’s early season attendance, many teams are continuing to find new ways to engage and improve the fan experience at the Major league level. We recently wrote about the Brewers’ well planned scavenger hunt, and also noticed more than a few other teams also looking to engage even more with fans and brands in different ways.

First is the San Francisco Giants. The defending World Champs were singled out by The Sports Business Journal recently as the Professional team of the Year, not just for their on-field work but for their work to continue to capitalize on their success by engaging not just local fans but fans across the country who want to experience the Giants brand but may never make it to the Bay Area. It started with their World Series Trophy Tour, which was a huge hit for those long-forgotten Baby Boomer fans of the team in the New York area. It has continued with an extended outreach with players causes in hometowns and in the area, and in an extensive and fun social media campaign that has used everyone from mascots to YouTube sensation Keenan Cahill. Many times teams that reach the pinnacle get the chance to coast and collect dollars and attention, but as we have seen recently with teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and the Giants, a Championship window allows aggressive exposure for a very short time, and then the casual fan is on to something else. Taking every possible positive advantage of that window…social media, grassroots efforts, unique promotions…is essential without gouging the fan. By being very proactive in a time when traditionally teams have been reactive increases that window and shows both responsibility and good business sense. Take a look at this q and a with San Fran’s Social Media Director Bryan Srabian for more details.

In the American League, the Detroit Tigers continue to lead the rallying cry for a Motor City summer hopeful of continued economic recovery. The team continues to increase and support community efforts with cost effective and timely promotions, and is the beneficiary of writer Mitch Albom’s new play on Ernie Harwell, which will draw even more casual interest to the team. The Tigers have also gone to great lengths to also employ every level of social media engagement for their fans who may not be able to make it to Comerica Park as often as they would like, forming a Social Media Club House for fans to get behind the scenes real time access to players, coaches and staff, as well as customized video and other promotions. While the rigors of baseball sometimes prevent players from being as active in social media as in other sports, the Tigers have seen the value as a brand and know that the need to engage and give added value will pay off not just in sales, but in positive messaging and branding for the community. It is a long term commitment with technology that makes great sense and cements the team in the community. thanks to colleague Bob Roble for the point, and for even more in-depth look at Tigers tech on his blog.