Question For Fans Of Independent Baseball Leagues

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With the independent professional baseball industry about to enter its 18th year as we know it (starting in 1993), the industry has reached some tangible achievements:


  • Many independent baseball teams, for one reason or another, have been featured in publications like Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, and other publications with national recognition
  • Independent baseball teams have been featured on national television channels, such as CNBC, for unique promotions, food items, player trades, and other stories
  • Dozens of independent baseball players have been signed by affiliated Minor League teams, including dozens who have made it to the Major Leauges.  This includes several players whose first professional baseball experience was with an independent team
  • Over 8 million fans (announced) attended independent baseball games in 2009

With all of these accomplishments, the industry still has a significant challenge for which you, the independent baseball fan, may be able to help.  Since IndependentBaseball.net is in contact with several team owners, league executives, and general managers across the independent baseball industry, we have an open communication about problems which are common regardless of the team or geographic area.

One of these problems is the ability to build “hype” regarding a particular game or series.  The problem is that most fans in a team’s area do not follow the team’s players and stats.  For most teams, 90% of their attendance will attend one or two games a year with no specific incentive to attend a game other than “Thirsty Thursday”, “Free T-shirt Night” or Fireworks Night.  Other than Opening Night, the 4th of July home game (with post-game fireworks), an All-Star Game and/or Home Run Derby, and the playoffs/championship most teams cannot generate enough incentive for fans to feel the “urgency” to attend a particular game or series.

The leagues and teams get approached all the time by people thinking that they can solve selected problems, but none has the impact of guaranteeing improved attendance AND increasing interest in the actual on-field play.  Therefore, IndepednentBaseball.net wants the opinion of you, the fan, to give your thoughts on what would compel you to care more about the on-field play where you feel that you MUST attend a specific game, regardless of the promotion.

The question for you, the independent baseball fan, is what gets your interest from other sports and entertainment alternatives?  For example, fans may have an actual increased interest in the on-field action from other sports marketing tactics like these:

  • Professional wrestling uses “promos” and “hype videos” to get you to tune in and/or attend matches
  • Boxing uses the pre-fight press conferences
  • UFC uses video vignettes about the fighters’ backgrounds.  It uses “The Ultimate Fighter” to generate hype for upcoming pay-per-views
  • NFL has NFL Films (for history), dozens of talk radio shows, ESPN’s NFL-related shows, etc.
  • College Football uses the “Heisman watch” shows and pre-game interest shows like College Football Game Day
  • Major League Baseball used to used “This Week In Baseball (TWIB)” as a hype show/lead-in to the weekend television games

 

Please take a few moments, share this post with your friends and other independent minor league baseball fans you know, and contribute your thoughts to what teams and leagues can do to generate hype, interest, and urgency about attending an independent baseball game regardless of the promotion that night.  Please keep in mind that the teams and leagues have limited budgets and manpower which can be allocated for “hype” purposes; but several teams are interested in no-cost/low-cost solutions which have high likelihood of making their local fans care more about the on-field performance rather than just the promotions.

Thank you for your contributions to help the industry evolve as the new decade of independent baseball begins in the coming months.

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There are several good books about the independent professional baseball leagues. You are welcome to see a list of suggestions through this link: Books

Get notified of upcoming independent baseball tryouts from either of these services: first service or the second service. Prospective players can find some helpful resources here

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2 Comments

  1. The cheapest/simplest solution is to find a local college or university and get a JOURNALISM student to work as a paid intern. Then, his/her job will be to write game stories and features for the team And that’s it — their job is to write content that gets people excited about the team.

    Instead, most teams rely on the local media and/or use their broadcasters to write stories. It’s a different skill set. By hiring students that WANT to be writers, you’ll get better stories and not stories written by local-yokel sportswriters that are biding their time until fall football starts or care more about the local MLB team.

  2. How about getting local businesses to work together. For example, bring your movie stub from any Monday night movie and get half off admission to a Thursday night game, and vice versa. This promotes both movies and baseball, and offers something (lower cost) on nights that are normally slower for both industries. Or if the home team scores 10 runs everyone in the ballpark gets a coupon for a food item at the local fast food place. Or Gas night, where fans can bring their recipt from a certain gas station for X amount gallons of gas and get buy one get one free ticket.Or how about kids bring their report card to the game and all A’s gets a family of four into the game in General Admission, A’s and B’s gets two free tickets. This gets kids excited about baseball and rewards for good grades. Promos are so easy, teams dont be afraid to offer specials on tickets or even free tickets some nights, get the fans there, the concessions will make the money.

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