Here is an in-depth article about the independent baseball business, from the frame of the new ownership group in Sioux Falls (Pheasants) struggling with attendance:
The quotes and reader comments on this article are very interesting. It shows many elements and challenges which face teams: those which face the owners, front office challenges, and negative sentiments or “push back” from fans at the local level. What is interesting is that Sioux Falls has been around since the beginning of independent baseball (as we know it today) back in 1993. It is one of 3 remaining cities which have had independent baseball since then. The other two are the St. Paul Saints and the Sioux City Explorers.
The other issue involved is a pure revenue challenge. Evidently the owners believe that they need several hundred more tickets sold each night to reach a break-even level. There are many things the team could do to generate more revenues from the fans which currently are attending, both passively and actively.
Since I have not attended any games in Sioux Falls, I cannot speak for this but it is possible to do the following for no cost to the team:
- Make sure that anyone who attends games and likes to “check in” on Facebook or FourSquare.com has the ability to do so. This way THE FANS’ FRIENDS can see that their friends are at the game
- Does the team take photos every night of fans, watermark them with the team’s website, and give away the photos on the team’s Facebook page or website? If not, fans who attend will post these photos on THEIR Facebook pages and give the team the “social proof” it is craving
- Is every adult fan walking in the stadium given an easy way to join the team’s Facebook/Twitter lists?
- Do they have a targeted MySpace campaign, which permits adding friends based on a radius around a zip code? If not, the team can add friends every day and have special MySpace-only promotions (the same applies to other social networks with large numbers)
- Does the team leverage its website’s PageRank (currently 4 out of 10) and sell ads on the open market against the open inventory 0n the site?
- Does the team monetize its social media properties properly?
- Is the team creating intellectual property to sell (or give away with affiliate links) for the demand in the search engines for baseball-specific training advice?
- Does the team leverage its players by letting personalities come through? For example, what about having players create baseball trivia videos, “how to” videos for the kids, or other media which will be passed around/shared by fans?
There are dozens of additional no-cost and low-cost active/passive revenues which the Pheasants, and any independent baseball team, can implement. These would lower the break-even point of attendance each night until the team figures out how to increase the “give a damn” emotion in both the local and regional population.
Feel free to leave your comments and thoughts on this post.
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 We will be providing a growing list of possibly helpful tips and suggestions on various baseball information. This will range from "how to" information about baseball skills all the way to helpful information for casual baseball fans. Please click the link for more information: Tips And How To Information