Spring is in the air and that can only mean one thing: baseball is back! While MLB is just getting underway with spring training, college baseball has been playing for over a month. While both play with the same rules, college and pro baseball have very different fan bases and the game production should reflect that. Here are four basic best practices for your college baseball program.
Players in college baseball are full of superstitions and traditions. Whether it’s the handshakes, the way they wear their socks or the dugout traditions with a 3-2 count, baseball players are always creatures of habit. Embrace those habits from a game presentation standpoint. Highlight them on the video board and get the fans to participate. The players can act as cheerleaders during these moments and the fans will eat that up.
It only takes one person to start a revolution. Get your most faithful fan or fans and reward them for creating noise and establishing traditions. At Ole Miss, a fan brings maracas and shakes them to the “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” video that is run during pitching changes. It’s a silly tradition but it encourages the rest of the fans around him to make noise and participate. Find those fans who support your program, create a atmosphere where they feel comfortable expressing that passion for the team and highlight them throughout your game presentation.
Regionalize the Experience
Don’t play “Sandstorm” at your games because that’s what they do at South Carolina. Don’t play “Shout” at your games because that’s what they do at Oregon. Don’t run a “Cowbell” cam because that’s what they do at a Sacramento Kings game. Find that song or experience that will connect with your fans and establish that as your tradition. It’s as important to listen to your fans preferences as much as you observe what is going on around baseball stadiums across the country.
Educate Your Fans
The popularity of college baseball is still growing so act as if your fans need to be educated on the team. Put up player graphics for each at bat and pitching change with the player’s hometown, school year and stats. Put up “Did You Know” graphics with facts about the players and program. Show the fans up to date information like winning streaks, hitting streaks, Top 25 rankings and conference standings. The more they know, the more engaged they will be in the program.