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The New American Pie: Baseball and Social Media

Baseball and Social Media

Baseball, the grand old game whose American origin dates back to the mid-19th century, and that darling of all current heartthrobs, social media, have blissfully come together on the base paths.

ESPN sports business guru, Kristi Dosh, recently reported in an online article that many major league teams are directing big-league marketing efforts to lure social medians to special team promotions, like Social Media Night, where teams and fans benefit from real two-way interaction while sharing their on-site experience with their respective online communities.

Some teams, like the Cleveland Indians, the article notes, have ratcheted it up a notch, making every night social media night for choice fans. Three years ago, the Indians introduced a social media suite with Wi-Fi, where social devotees can co-mingle while sustaining their online presences during the ballgame.

Social Media Night

Teams attempt to make Social Media Night a concierge event. Competition is keen among fans applying for the chance to be selected for the suite. If chosen, they agree in turn to provide links to all of their social networking accounts and suffer questions about themselves as fans. Applicants are picked on their “social media usage and interest in baseball,” according to one Major League Baseball team’s source.

The Florida Marlins, as well as offering a social media lounge, extend extra perks, like a private tour of Marlins Park and a sampling of cuisine options to lucky selectees.

Next month, the San Francisco Giants will inaugurate their social media café. “The idea was to build a lounge inside the park that would host all of our social chatter in one place, allowing fans to see it in real time throughout the game,” Giants’ Director of Social Media Bryan Srabian told Dosh.

Srabian said the team’s intent was to emphasize that social media is more than “just posting pictures and hashtags,” citing the importance of really listening to the fans, having a dialogue with them, and giving them the platform to be heard.

Video Screen

Dosh notes that the café will feature a video screen “highlighting fan tweets and Instagram photos and will also have the ability to host polls.” Participants can plant themselves in front of two large screens carrying live field action, while sipping coffee and espresso from the bar. A handy charging station will be on the premises, too.

To access a particular team’s various social media accounts and the accounts of its players, simply add “/connect” to the end of any team’s website (i.e.: www.sfgiants.com/connect) and you’ll be directed to the team’s Social Media Clubhouse.

(Sources: Dosh, Kristi. “Social media giving MLB fans a voice,” ESPN Playbook – “Dollars,” Apr. 24, 2013, http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/dollars/post/_/id/3368/social-media-giving-mlb-fans-a-voice; Cleveland Indians Social Media Clubhouse, http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/fan_forum/social_media/index.jsp?c_id=cle; Marlins Social Media Lounge, http://miami.marlins.mlb.com/mia/fan_forum/social_lounge.jsp; Swartz, Jon. “San Francisco Giants ride Techball to the top,” USA TODAY, March 31, 2013, http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/03/31/giants-social-media-world-series-technology/2013497/)

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