build it

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…and they will come.  Remember the line from Field of Dreams?  In the movie, Kevin Costner’s character builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield.  Why?  Well, I don’t want to spoil the movie (you still haven’t seen it?!) but he believes that baseball players will come to play on his diamond.  He just has to build it. 

It’s something the Toronto Blue Jays have been trying to do since the lockout in 1994/5.

I must give them credit.  They’ve tried almost everything.

Flashback Fridays, All You Can Eat campaigns, 80s night, Tweeting Tuesdays, new field turf, setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts and filling it with content, Jr. Jays games on Saturdays, Father’s Day camp-outs, School Day deals in the summer, Flex Packs, $100 season tickets, signing free agents, season ticket holder gatherings, and I could go on and on.  But you get the point.

Before I continue let me address one point.  Winning won’t solve this.  Here’s why:  Winning will only happen AFTER people become fans who attend games.  It is clear Rogers will only fund the Jays payroll to a level in direct proportion to the revenues generated from ticket sales.  So, let’s move onto getting asses (sorry I swore Mom) into seats.

ENGAGE IRL.

Engage In Real Life.  It’s the key (at least a BIG key) to social media and modern marketing today.  Especially when we talk about live sporting events.  And don’t just engage with anyone.  It’s important to reach out to all your fans.  Young and old.  But I would also suggest focusing on engaging the INFLUENCERS.

Influencers are the people who will get the people to come to the park.  They are the big mouths, the party hosts.  They are the one’s that can mobilize a movement.  Malcolm Gladwell talks about connectors, mavens and persuaders.  Influencers are a combination of all three.

Influencers can connect people; they can share with people; and they are charismatic.

It’s not about the technology alone.  Things like Tweet Ups, Meet Ups, and other social media events are popular and the place to be NOT because of Twitter, Facebook, etc.  They are popular because people are engaged WITH each other on a personal level and not just on a pixel level.

We are not living in a technological age.  We are living in a social age. Time to stop hiding behind Jays Care, @BlueJays and the corporate desk. Let’s get social.

So, Mr. Blue Jays, get in contact with these “community leaders” and let them work with you.  They are great at listening to people and mobilizing them.  They, and everyone else, wants the Toronto Blue Jays to succeed at the gate and in the standings.

They may not be able to fill a roster but they will make sure that the blue seats don’t out-number the Blue fans.

**My next blog post will illustrate what the most popular professional sports team in Canada is doing to engage with its community despite being the hardest ticket to get in town.**

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree? Do you think my idea is something out of left field? Feel free to comment below.

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