What Major League Baseball Can Teach Us

chicago_cubs_logo-12547_display_imageLots of literally “inside baseball” information here, but I’d call your attention to the “Most Disappointing City” items about halfway down. Chicago Cubs sell-outs have been for a long time as reliable as McDonald’s restrooms when traveling abroad. But they’re down this year, to the point where you can just, gasp, BUY a ticket to a game from the box office, and a downright mortal 9th in terms of sell-through percentage. Is it team performance, which has been poor? Remember, these are the guys they call the “loveable losers,” meaning that whatever happens, the fans show up. Hey, 79.3% sell-through isn’t exactly a disaster … I know a lot of places that would trade, but five years ago, it was 99.1%. Of course, in 2008, Boston was selling through at 104%, and no one is in the neighborhood anymore.

Baseball has a LOT of inventory, more than anyone. If you’re not in baseball, imagine 81 dates a year with capacities as high as 57,000 and some pretty high ticket revenue goals to boot. Not feeling as cocky when you think about it that way, right? Still, there is a long-term marketing puzzle here that baseball has to solve, and I think baseball marketers (like Russ Stanley at the Giants and others) are some of the most progressive, creative live entertainment marketers anywhere, and baseball itself has embraced all the technologies more than any other major league.

Pay attention to this. If you’re in baseball and want to write something about how you approach this challenge, drop me a line. I feel strongly that this part of the live entertainment industry has a lot to teach the rest because their sales challenge is so big. Let’s see if we can’t share some ideas.

Read the entire SportsBusiness Journal article: MLB season’s surprising highs and puzzling lows.

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