Can Snapchat make baseball more relevant to Millennials?
Major League Baseball’s marketing team sure hopes so. The league, stuck in a rut of plummeting ratings and ever-increasing apathy among younger audiences, is counting on the trendy social application to stop the bleeding. Or at least slow it down.
The league announced in February that it would incorporate Snapchat into its social strategy, and so far it’s delivered on that promise. MLB and some of its teams have embraced the platform as a new way to engage fans and humanize its players.
While MLB isn’t new to the social space – the league has nearly 9 million combined fans on Facebook and Twitter – its use of Snapchat is somewhat surprising. The league is painfully slow at adapting to social and technological paradigms (it didn’t even implement instant replay until 2014), so embracing an app that’s still in its nascent stages qualifies as a bold and aggressive move.
In a recent interview with Mashable, Hali Stark, MLB’s social media producer, discussed how MLB marketers use the platform:
“Depending on where our team travels, we try to find the most interesting, fun storyline of the day. Then we try to capture it combining the right emojis, drawings or creative text. We craft all of our snaps to make fans feel like they are getting an exclusive message straight from MLB or the player. Some of our most popular snaps have been players interacting with the camera. Whether it’s them dancing, high-fiving or waving, fans feel as if that particular player is sending them a personal message.”
While the move toward Snapchat is a positive step, there’s so much more MLB and its contemporaries could be doing to engage fans via social media. Here are some of my favorite ideas. I realize they are completely impractical, but a boy a can dream, can’t he?
Third String Quarterback Tweets
The third string quarterback has the cushiest job in sports. He puts on a uniform, holds a clipboard, and collects a huge paycheck. Some life. It’s about time the NFL gives these noodle-armed freeloaders something to do, like provide in-game commentary on Twitter. Despite their marginal skills, third string quarterbacks can provide exceptional insight and unique in-game commentary.
Penalty Box Confessions via Vine
How cool would it be to receive a Vine selfie from an adrenaline-fueled hockey player who just got assigned two minutes in the box for a penalty he swears he didn’t commit? Talk about an intense six seconds!
Locker Room Speeches on YouTube
My favorite movie scene of all time takes place in a locker room. So does my second. The point is, I love sports speeches. There’s nothing cooler than when a camera crew is given access to a locker room before a game. CBS does this a lot during the NCAA Tournament, and it sends chills down my spine every time. Posting more of these speeches on YouTube would generate an insane amount of traffic.
Much like third string quarterbacks, MLB relievers have it pretty easy. They get paid seven-figure salaries to work one inning every two or three days. Brian Wilson, making $10 million this year (tops among relievers), has pitched seven innings all season. If only MLB would empower relievers to use Snapchat, maybe we could finally learn what goes on in MLB bullpens…or in Wilson’s beard.
Alex Altman is a freelance copywriter from Detroit, MI. Check out his work at www.aawrites.com, or drop him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.