It’s no secret that I love baseball.
A game that first attracted my attention when I owned a pub, and Channel 5 ran live games two or three nights a week, the perfect antidote after standing and serving people all night when there was very little live sport on.
I took my family to St Pete beach in 2006, and went to watch a couple of Tampa Bay Ray (or Devil Rays as they were then) during our holiday.
I’m off to Miami in June, and will be heading to watch the Marlins, and depending on the date, might even get to see them play the Rays!
Sport is something our American cousins do well…
When we went last time, the first 12,000 kids under 14 were given a free baseball mitt. Having been in touch with the organisation before we went, we were met by one of their PR staff, who promptly gave our youngest a couple of sets of Rays shades and a tee shirt!
Add in the fact that you dont need to leave your seat to purchase food and beverages, and the whole fan experience is second to non.
We’ve made great strides in fan engagement in the last few years, but it could still be better.
Why dont we see clubs (in any sport) offering more for kids? Face painting? Pah! Parents dont want their £40 replica shirts stained.
If smaller sports want to see more younger fans through the turnstiles, offer them something meaningful.
Give primary schools free passes for each kid, just once a season, and charge parents £10. Give them a free mini ball, or signed squad photo as they come in, nothing expensive, just something to engage them and get them wanting more.
no need to give every school tickets for the same game, spread it out over the season. That way you’re not overwhelmed if everybody arrives at once.
This is how you organically grow your fan base, especially in a city where you are competing with other sports.
Sale Sharks already offer fans a food & drink to your seat app, so why not the Devils? It would certainly be a USP in Super League.