Marlins Marketing and Baseball Social Scenes

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I don’t normally talk about other teams here, because I don’t have any expertise on those teams or those markets. But a few days ago, Marlins blog Fish Stripes wrote a really fascinating post on the Marlins marketing efforts.

In the article, Michael Jong details the Marlins efforts to win over Miami’s Hispanic community. He compares their success to the failed efforts of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

The Fish wanted to appeal to the Latin-American population, and particularly the Cuban population, in their move as well. The Taste of Miami local foods area is a great example of appealing to the local populace rather than going for broad appeal. The team has always attracted Latin-American acts for their concert series, and the inaugural representative of these concert attempts was Mr. 305 himself, Pitbull. The Marlins have set the bulls-eye squarely on the surrounding Hispanic population, much like the Hawks have targeted the younger and African-American groups of Atlanta.

Now I am not sure how Jung is measuring success here. Are there more Cuban baseball fans in the stands? Are they selling more season tickets to people from the Cuban part of Miami? Are the Marlins polling better in popularity and compared to the Heat, Dolphins, and Panthers?

Jung concludes the Marlins have done all they can in regards to turning the ballpark into an entertainment venue, although again he gives little support to his idea. Again, there is no polls or marketing data. But he asserts the Marlins now need to win.

But the winning ways need to follow. The Fish have done all the marketing that they could do to sell the games as worth attending. Assembling a winning product may very well be just the last step.

Although I am critical of posts that make assumptions of marketing success without supporting data, I liked Jung’s article. It gave me a lot to think about.

In the Tampa Bay area, the Rays have attempted to make the Trop a social scene through efforts such as the Porch. One could argue the Clearwater Threshers have done just as good of a job turning Bright House Field into a social event, especially during their drink special promotions and happy hours.

Food and drink is a great way to create a social scene. The Dunedin Blue Jays and Tampa Yankees hosted Food Truck events and the Jays hosted local breweries. It might behoove the Rays to do the same, although concession contracts might get in the way.

Being that baseball is played almost every day from April to October, it is impossible to turn every game into a social event. But if good marketing/buzz can turn a basement into a scene, then it clearly can turn a baseball game into a scene. And the best baseball markets: the Busch Stadiums, Fenway Parks, and Wrigley Fields are a scene. People go not only to be popular, but because going is a popular thing to do.

Could Marlins Park or Tropicana Field ever be a scene?

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