Marketing / 04.09.19
4 Creative Ways to Enhance Days at the Ballparks
As you’ve probably heard, MLB’s attendance was down last year, around 4 percent by the end of the season. Baseball has the oldest fan base of any major sport and bringing in the next gen has proven difficult for various reasons. Younger generations have shorter attention spans (or, if you prefer, more “selective” attention spans); they expect constant entertainment because they have the world at their fingertips. How can baseball stadiums bring in these “selective” fans for long, slow-paced games in hot weather?
They can get creative. And they are.
In a time when innovation matters more than ever for baseball, let’s look at what stadiums are doing across the nation in an effort to appeal to fans of all ages.
1. Give Fans Some Creative Control
Here’s an idea: Make the game an interactive experience. As the Los Angeles Times reports, beginning on the Stockton Ports’ opening night, and continuing through every home game, fans will have the opportunity to choose the walkup song for the team’s opponents. Not only does this engage the fans and give them some control over their experience, but it’s also a win for the stadium. For $5, fans choose a song that will be assigned to a random player, and for $10, fans choose a song for a specific player in the lineup. Although this might not be the major leagues, it can certainly give MLB leaders some inspiration.
2. Bring Food to the Fans — Without Needing to Shout at Them
Younger generations are used to getting food how they want it whenever they want it, including from the comfort of their couch. Inventions like Grubhub and Uber Eats allow foodies to use an app to order delivery from a host of options. FanFood is making that possible at baseball games. The company’s mobile app lets attendees at live events order food and drinks without leaving their seats, and it currently services 14 venues. According to Built In Chicago, FanFood is working on an integration with a POS provider. In addition to cutting costs with this, the idea is that a mobile ordering platform can also help stadiums go cashless quicker, like Tropicana Field just did.
3. The Food Itself Should Be Instagram-Worthy
Traditional hot dogs with the works are still great, but younger generations love their novelty food. You can see it in fairs, and fans are becoming increasingly expectant for unique, diverse eats at their live events. According to The Mercury News, the Oakland A’s are offering, as part of a stadium-wide concession refresh, boozy popsicles. Could there be anything more appealing on a hot game day?
4. Let Everyone in on the Fun
According to WTVM, the Atlanta Braves are stepping up the fan interaction element during the 2019 season. Children at the game can participate in a free giveaway at every Sunday home game for the chance to go down to the diamond after the game to run the bases. Also, they’re launching red-out Fridays, in which fans and players can match — and even taking it one step further. The team has a tradition of doing a tomahawk chop with their phones’ flashlight during the evening innings. This year, they have a bit of a red film to cover the flash, which makes for a very red scene. Talk about creating a sense of fan-team cohesion.
Bringing in the next generation of baseball fans isn’t a lost cause. The younger enthusiasts are there; they just might need to be a little more engaged and listened to. That’s what healthy stadiums have been doing since the dawn of baseball, and it’s time for some fun changes.
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Tags: Sports , Concessions , Mobile , Stadium , Consumer Preferences , Venues