#TBT: Dodgers Show What Being Audience-Oriented Means
Happy #TBT. To celebrate, we’re sharing an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim. The Dodgers have made it into the playoffs again this year by clinching the NL West, and their first game of a five-game division series is tomorrow against the St. Louis Cardinals. Around this time last year, Jim commended the Dodgers for being audience-oriented and long-term focused for actions like rewarding car poolers.
Always keep in mind: If you’re in sports marketing or theater marketing or music marketing, you’re all in very similar roles with a ton to learn from each other.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the playoffs, which means that everyone wants to be at the games. I went to a game during the series before this one, wherein they beat the Atlanta Braves, and it was crowded. But of course, that’s what you’d expect. These games are sold out and very popular.
Except it wasn’t just a sell out. The car traffic was extreme, with waits in the parking lot that kept the stadium only partly full for the first couple of innings and leaving some people without a parking spot. As it turns out, during the playoffs people actually take cars to the park MORE than during a regular season, so that even though the capacity of the park is the same, the parking load is actually quite a bit larger.
(And let me tell you from personal experience, it was a brutal parking and waiting situation, even by L.A. standards, and even by stadium parking standards.)
But the new ownership and management of the Dodgers have demonstrated that they get it. First, by simply acknowledging and recognizing that it wasn’t a good enough experience, they’re miles ahead of what many organizations would be willing to do, but they didn’t stop there.
First, they made parking free for people who bring four or more. Bear in mind that one of the first things that the new ownership (including Magic Johnson) did was reduce the price of parking, which had been driven up by the previous, not so audience-oriented ownership.
But, and this is just a theory, I believe that the Dodgers also killed a few hundred tickets around the stadium. I think this because the later games, including three this week at the stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals, were “sold out” but attendance was around 54,000. Dodger Stadium’s capacity is officially sold out at 53,393, but the games against the Braves had attendance in the 54,000s.
So, I think that in addition to rewarding car poolers, the Dodgers, who could have simply pushed the needle as far as it could go on sales, chose to stick to the “official” limit to make the experience better for those who showed up. That’s passing up a few hundred thousand dollars or more in potential revenue for the sake of a better fan experience.
So hats off to you, Dodgers. Audience-oriented and long-term focused. Well done.