SBD/March 24, 2011/Franchises

Indians Rolling Out Host Of Social Media Initiatives For '11 Season

Indians rolling out ticket discounts for Twitter and Facebook users

The Indians today are introducing a new suite of social media initiatives for the '11 season, including the creation of the Indians Social Suite, a Progressive Field suite catering exclusively to social media users. It replaces the previous Indians Social Deck in the stadium bleachers. The Social Suite holds 12 people per game, and admission is strictly on an invite-only basis following online applications. Fans can apply for invitations to the Indians Social Suite at indians.com/connect. The franchise also is rolling out a series of ticket discount offers for Twitter and Facebook users and is launching Twitter feeds for President Mark Shapiro (@MarkShapiro) and Exec VP & GM Chris Antonetti (@IndiansGM), joining an existing feed from manager Manny Acta (@mactriber_11). The Indians additionally are working with MLBAM to allow for further price discounts by implementing a check-in feature through the At The Ballpark section of the MLB.com At Bat 11 mobile application (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

MISTAKES ON THE LAKE: BASEBALL AMERICA's Tracy Ringolsby wrote the Indians' front-office mentality "has not worked" since former GM John Hart left after the '01 season, although team Owner Larry Dolan "praised for his loyalty, has not wavered in his support of the team's management." A series of "bad drafts have stripped the once-rich Indians farm system of talent," and when Shapiro "began dealing established players for payroll reasons, he wasn't able to land impact prospects in return." Dolan's "non-baseball interest is a law firm, which doesn't generate the type of revenue to provide a financial safety net for baseball losses." As a result, the "bottom line is at the forefront in decision making." Ringolsby noted "times certainly have changed" for the Indians, who sold out a then MLB-record 455 consecutive games from '95-'01. The club has produced just two winning seasons in the past nine, and "in five of the past eight years, they have failed to reach the 2 million mark in attendance." Last season, the Indians drew an MLB-worst 1.39 million fans (BASEBALLAMERICA.com, 3/22).

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