Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 24, 2004
BASEBALL: The Replacements

David Pinto had an interesting post the other day talking about baseball’s efforts to market Josh Beckett and the Florida Marlins. In it, he includes this quote:

"For the month of October, Josh Beckett captivated America. It's our job to keep the spotlight on Josh,'' said Jacqueline Parkes…MLB senior vice president for marketing.

"He very much appeals to demographics we're trying to bring into the game, (ages) 18 to 38. What better way to attract them than have someone who looks very much like them? Josh is a very down-to-earth guy who is exceedingly talented on the field, and he's very relevant to target.''

One minor quibble: the demographic baseball should be aiming for isn’t 18 to 38 year olds. People in that demographic, including myself, have already pretty much made up their mind about whether or not they love the game. In short, it’s too late.

Baseball should be targeting fans from age 5 to 15, with free tickets for children, earlier starting times, greater community outreach, support for little leagues, etc… In the short-term, that may not be the most profitable strategy, but it would do the most to build a broad and loyal fan base for a game that needs it to thrive in the years ahead. As Jerry Seinfeld has wryly noted, children are here primarily for one reason – to replace us. Baseball should keep that in mind.

Posted by The Mad Hibernian at 11:14 AM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

You are right on target. With the semi-demise of the NBA going on right now, they have an opportunity to reclaim some status, but they will probably blow it.

They could do it and still remain profitable in the short AND long run, but probably not at the greedy excessive rate they are accustomed to. That's always the problem.

Posted by: Mr Furious at February 24, 2004 03:37 PM

I disagree with you about the demographic. 18 to 35 is perfect. Baseball is a game that appeals to you more the older you get. While it would be great to get the kids, it's not fatal. Baseball appeals to a more mature audience.

Posted by: David Pinto at February 24, 2004 11:18 PM

One demographic doesn't have to cancel out the other, it is possible to appeal to kids, families AND 18-35 year old roto nerds. Certainly I attended the vast majority of my baseball games in my twenties, but would I have if I was never exposed as a kid?

Obviously the fact that we sit around and discuss this stuff makes us the exception. Most fans of any sport are far more casual. The problem with MLB now is it is getting priced out of reach, and teams and the League have done a bad job marketing the players since so much of the last ten years they have been staring across a bargaining table instead of working together.

The game needs to be more accessable. More day games, more bargains, more ACTUAL BASEBALL-RELATED fan activities in the parks.

Posted by: Mr Furious at February 25, 2004 12:28 AM

David – maybe I appreciate some of the nuances now more than I did when I was really young, but I just don’t think I’d love the game as much today, if I hadn’t grown up with a Dwight Gooden poster in my room, collecting baseball cards, playing baseball out in the street or “Pursue the Pennant” until dark, etc… That kind of foundation sticks with you.

So I agree with my learned colleague Mr. Furious here - you need to hook ‘em in on the simple things while they’re young. The finer pleasures of the game can come later…

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at February 25, 2004 09:42 AM
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