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Volume 27 No. 28
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Social Media Strategy Helps MLB Keep Fans Engaged This Season

Facebook Dir of Sports Media & League Partnerships Rob Shaw said MLB’s early adoption of Facebook Groups was key to helping the league stay connected with fans during this unprecedented season. “They were that first league to have every single team have a Group,” Shaw said at the Intersport Brand Innovation Summit. “It really paid off. I think during the time where the lights went off in the stadiums, you still had the chatter and the conversation very much living on in Facebook Groups.” Shaw pointed to the Braves’ Group as exemplary: “It's an incredible atmosphere akin to a sports bar that would be in downtown Atlanta.” MLB Senior VP/Marketing Barbara McHugh said the league is “really excited about what we were able to accomplish this season in terms of a lot more two-way mic’d up content, particularly on our national broadcasts.” She cited MLB’s “On First with Pete Alonso” video series as well as an “impromptu paid ad campaign on both Twitter and on Instagram” during the playoffs featuring Padres SS Fernando Tatis Jr. Shaw believes the next step for leagues is to “start leveraging” the company’s paid marketing tools to translate engagement into revenue. “That's what makes the business work,” he said. “It's what allows the leagues to start driving the ticket sales once we do get back to the stadiums, being able to use our products for shopping and commerce, using our branded content.”

Quick Hits:

*Shaw, on how Facebook is helping leagues and teams monetize fan engagement: “We started developing a suite of other products that are really relevant during the world that we live in today. We have rolled out Facebook Shops, which literally will bring MLB Shop directly into the virtual walls of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.”

*McHugh, on the Tatis. Jr. campaign and other content: “We really just focused our targeting on ages 13 to 24, so really focused on the gen Z group. ... Specifically things such as TikTok, Dude Perfect, ESPN … We've really increased our resources and energy towards MLB Originals ... which is a really fun and unique way to really embrace a new audience and a really young audience.”

*Greenfly President & CEO Daniel Kirschner, on how the pandemic is impacting fan-engagement strategy on social: “We're headed toward a period of just a lot more activity, but a real focus on ... continuing to focus on the quality of the content, what's resonating, what's working, watching how it's evolving, watching how audiences are evolving.”

*Kirschner, on Greenfly providing MLB players with shareable content: “Baseball players have been tremendously engaged. A huge majority of the league is using the platform on a daily basis during games and publishing just a ton of great content out to social, and really connecting with that fan base.”