Dodgers Face Hurdles In Attracting Younger Fans Due To TV Dispute, Crowded Marketplace
MLB’s push to accelerate the pace of play is "rooted in the urgency to attract a new generation of fans," something in which the Dodgers "face a steeper climb" than other clubs, according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. The Dodgers' TV broadcasts remain "blacked out among a majority of their fans, and even the fans who pay to get the telecasts cannot watch them on a computer or smartphone" due to the lack of an in-market streaming deal. The Dodgers also "must sell their team in an already crowded sports market" that now includes the Rams, Chargers and MLS expansion club LAFC next year. The team knows that the "strongest brand loyalties are built at the youngest ages," so the club engages the community in part by "building youth baseball and softball fields, holding clinics for players and coaches and lending support to youth programs." Dodgers VP/Marketing, Communications & Broadcasting Erik Braverman said, "We’re not trying to sell tickets when we do this. ... We’re trying to connect, hopefully, with kids that might be with us for a lifetime.” Dodgers Publicist Steve Brener said that the club "distributed more than 50,000 free tickets last season to underprivileged youth and community groups." While youth clubs with most MLB teams "charge a modest fee and include game tickets," the Dodgers’ club is free to join, but "does not include game tickets." However, Braverman said that a package that includes tickets is "under consideration." Meanwhile, for the fourth consecutive year, the Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA RSN has been unable to get carriage on "any other major cable or satellite provider" in the L.A. area. Braverman noted that his department is "working to connect with young fans on social media" (L.A. TIMES, 4/17).