For many years, most MiLB clubs were operated entirely independently, with minimal support from a central administrator. However, this management style is about to change.
160 MiLB teams will start to brand together under the domination of one marketing campaign – “It’s fun to be a fan.” Most of the ‘focus-grouped’ clubs seem to accept the concept since they know this means getting support at the league level as many franchised professional sports clubs do.
Creation of a national commercial identity for Minor League Baseball dates back in 2012 when MiLB President, Pat O’Conner, announced Project Brand. Since 75 percent of Americans live in a MiLB market with a high annual attendance, he foresaw that leveraging the MiLB’s national scale would be advantageous to the individual clubs.
A division task force, MiLB Enterprises, was selected in 2014 with a sole purpose to carry out O’Conner’s vision with an initial focus on signing the national commercial partnership. The goal was to increase the fan base and the annual attendance 2 percent each year, to 50 million by 2026. Even though former MLS marketer David Wright said this seems an ambitious target rate.
“It’s fun to be a fan” has been used in campaigns to highlight many other baseball activities that fans experience on their visit to the ballparks. The campaign already began in the previous week with an accompanying logo and digital slogan. The family, friends, fun moments, food and drinks, and fireworks are all examples of the MiLB experience.
This digital campaign will proceed all through the season to achieve the MiLB Enterprises’ goals. The MiLB will intensify its digital campaign by bringing on board some technical support from Diamond View Studios. The studio is mandated to take videos of fans having fun and carrying out interviews at the ballparks. The basis was for in-school programs, use by sponsors, and creative social media and digital platforms’ content.
Moreover, MiLB Enterprises focuses on improving clubs services by providing the clubs with data and analysis about their fans. By 2018, MiLB suggests that the campaign tools will be used for specific marketing movements to increase their fan base.