“Saturday Night Live,” “Half Baked,” host of countless specials and standup shows with rave reviews, Jim Breuer has had, and continues to have, an outstanding run as one of America’s top comedians. His self-deprecating style resonates with fans young and old, and his love of baseball, especially one team, has really opened up an even wider audience for his work the past six months than ever before.
At the beginning of the 2015 baseball season, Breuer, a long-time die-hard New York Mets fan, decided to take his fandom to another level, working with videographer Charley Pellecer of Saints Films to come up with a simple, viral and very effective way to voice his support, frustration and passion for the Amazin’s almost every night, and as a result, his brand has risen along with the fates of the team from Queens.
This past week Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal did a piece on the comedic support the Mets have received over the years; from Jerry Seinfeld to Hank Azaria and beyond, and right there smack dab in the middle was Breuer, who may not have the casual recall with fans that some of the bigger names may always have, but is still more than deserving to not just be in the conversation, but to lead it.
The videos that Breuer has created, each about sixty to 90 seconds in length, have been posted on Facebook (now with over 235,000 likes, Breuer’s last video of the Chase Utley situation had over 125,000 views alone) and sent out on his other social platforms, especially Twitter, and have become “must watch” for millions of fans of both comedy and baseball as New York made their unexpected rise through the standings and into the playoffs this season. The pieces aren’t polished, they are never vulgar, but they reflect his madcap spirit, and with that the spirit and passion of Mets fans around the globe. The result, somewhat unintentionally, has really catapulted the Long Island native’s brand to an even higher status among casual fans than what it was before.
What started as a few hundred views and likes on Facebook as the season started has gone on to be hundreds of thousands every night and has more than doubled his social footprint on both Facebook and Twitter to the tune of several hundred thousand consistent followers more than he had before his self-driven engagement started. He has become the fan’s face of the franchise on MLB Central, on SNY TV and baseball—specific websites, and he even got his own baseball card from Topps to commemorate his special on EPIX this past summer around the night when he threw out the first pitch at CitiField.
Now this is not to say Breuer has been out of the limelight for his comedic genius. He has been beloved by millions for his TV and standup work for years; but his work this season with the Mets has really put him in a much different place, a place where younger people who might have known his SNL work are now searching for his routines online because of his affiliation with the Mets. The team has really benefitted from the relationship as well; while some of the bigger name celebrities around the team pop in and out, Breuer has been a constant force this year, interacting with fans on Twitter (over 108k followers now), popping up on Instagram and Snapchat, and helping boost their brand beyond just baseball to a welcoming audience of fans who love Breuer’s work even more than what David Wright and company have done in the field.
Why has it worked so well? It is simple, it is sincere, it is not overly polished or overtly commercial, and it reflects the passion that not just Mets fans, but loyal followers of any team, can understand. The videos are exactly the mix of what has made Breuer such a comedic success over the years; they are believable, fun and easy to relate tom and the timing, something that is essential in both baseball and standup, has been almost impeccable.
Do the Mets have bigger names around the team? Sure. Has a Seinfeld tweet or a mention from Bill Maher delivered a massive audience as a one-off? Sure. However as we know baseball is a marathon, not a sprint, and for the long run this season there is maybe no better example of use in the digital space as the work Jim Breuer and the Mets have done; a simple partnership that has lifted both brands to success that should be admired beyond whatever happens for the team in the postseason.
Like comedy, digital success in sports is hard, and Breuer has made it look easy.