Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Adventures in baseball marketing

The Twins caught themselves in a social media whirlwind Tuesday morning by announcing plans to sell up to 60 tickets per home game to the home team batting practice. The price would be $15, the buyers would have to have tickets to the game already, and the 60 would be restricted to the right field area.

For reasons I really don't grasp -- I guess it's just habitual disgruntlement -- this raised the ire of some fans.

It's been years -- decades --since the gates opened early enough for fans to see the home team take batting practice. I recall seeing some home team BP in the 1980s at the Metrodome, but not since. The basic rule now is: the gates open 90 minutes before game time, and by then the Twins are back in the clubhouse and the visitors are well into their batting practice.

As I recall, the home team BP didn't attract many fans back then, certainly not enough to justify the expense of having the stadium operations people at their stations that early.

This proposal would have allowed a few dozen fans to watch all of BP in a manner that paid for itself (and maybe turned a small profit) and didn't require all the ushers, security personnel and concession workers to be at their posts. Other teams do this, and some apparently charge as much as $60 for the access.

But there was an outcry and complaints of greed, and the Twins by midafternoon were proclaiming the morning press release to have been insufficiently vetted and withdrawn.

So we're back where we were: I don't get to watch Joe Mauer take batting practice at Target Field. Apparently this is progress.


In Chicago, the Cubs struck a sponsorship deal with Wrigley in which a brand called 5 would be the team's official gum, with containers prominently displayed in the dugout and clubhouse.

During Monday's broadcast, a shot of the Cub bullpen clearly showed wrappers for a rival brand of gum, Double Bubble.

Gasps and horrors. The front office issued immediate orders to the bullpenners -- during the game -- None of this Double Bubble. You must chew 5.

This, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, went over about as well as you'd expect:

Said one bullpen member: "I'm not changing gum after all these years because of the marketing department. I don't like that gum."

That's just the kind of attention Wrigley was looking for, I'll wager.

1 comment:

  1. Funny stuff. It is kind of like Carl Pohlad starting Victory Sports without getting much of a commitment from cable and satellite companies, then putting the Twins back on Fox Sports North during the season and ending the channel. Does anyone remember the Kris Humphries Gophers career after Victory carried the games that year? It is too bad he didn't sell the idea first - would like to have seen MSU hockey on a bigger TV stage. Leave it to a banker and his staff to mess up public relations that bad, and apparently it is like father, like son.