As industry leaders in sports fan experience, it is important that we visit other stadiums to observe best practices. With summer officially upon us, and my personal bucket list to visit all 30 Major League ballparks coming close to a reality, I visited six ballparks in the last month and am sharing the best entertainment element from each visit.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubs have a strong following in Chicago with over a century of baseball on the North Side. One creative element they run is a “Degrees of Separation” graphic that shows how past and current Cubs players are connected. They show a player from the 1980’s, who were teammates with another, who went to college with another, who coached with another, who grew up in the same city as a current Cub. This is a very creative and graphically pleasing way to connect your past with the present.
Chicago White Sox: The White Sox installed new three new video boards and they look great. That is until Cris Quintana, the White Sox game director, put me on the boards, but I digress. They use the boards brilliantly during the intro video, where they use all three in sync to share White Sox history. Some shots showed three different moments over time, like a home run over three different generations, with one voiceover describing the moment. Others showed the same moment from three different angles, capturing it from varying perspectives. It was unique, innovative and very well produced.
Detroit Tigers: MLB has been pushing All Star Game and this was captured very well at Comerica Park. Numerous times during the game, fans were encouraged to #VoteTigers. During batting practice, the vote standings were displayed, highlighting where Tigers players were in the race. During the game, they ran a video feature that had teammates of Miguel Cabrera saying why they’d “Vote Miggy”. When a player would get a hit or make a good play, the live shot of that player would include a graphic that reminded fans to vote for them. This was a great example of a league-wide initiative that the Tigers enhanced.
Miami Marlins: Marlins Park is one of the more unique stadiums in the nation, where neon walls are the norm and fish tanks replace walls. One area that the Marlins excel is providing team and player statistics on their five outfield video boards. Each time a batter came to the plate, there were unique stats displayed from their previous at bat. They provided a lot of traditional and situational stats, which kept fans informed throughout the game.
Milwaukee Brewers: Miller Park is a fun, family friendly destination and one example was the Kid Announcer feature during the bottom of the 4th inning. It was a sponsored element that was captured with a live camera shot, which really connected the fans with the guest announcer. The timing was also good because it grabbed the fans attention as their show started to build prior to the Famous Racing Sausages race.
New York Yankees: It’s obvious the moment you walk into Yankee Stadium that despite the new building, this is still the same franchise that has won 27 World Series championships. During pre-game, they reminded fans of that history with a Sports Center type highlight package of the 1927 World Series. They used video, pictures, stats, commentary and interviews to recap the series in detail. If the Yankees can find enough content for a series almost 90 years ago, any team can find content for their best historical moments.
Visiting other fan experiences is vital to your show. At a minimum, make sure to observe the teams in your market to see what your competition is doing to enhance the fan experience. There are brilliant minds in our industry and we should all learn from one another.