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MLB Fan Cave
Major League Baseball
Feb. 17, 2012
- Social Media for Sports
Team members: Tim Brosnan - Executive Vice President, Business, Major League Baseball, Jacqueline Parkes - Chief Marketing Officer, Major League Baseball
About this entry
The MLB Fan Cave began as a truly novel idea with the goals of engaging younger fans via social media while increasing the profile of star players and placing baseball at the nexus of all things pop culture.
In March 2011, Major League Baseball hired two fans whose jobs were to watch every single MLB regular season and postseason game (2,400+) on a giant wall of 15 TV screens while blogging about the experience and interacting with fans via social media and online videos featuring player and celebrity visitors, all in a NYC store front with floor to ceiling windows for fans to watch their every move.
Located in the old Tower Records building at 4th St. and Broadway in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, the MLB Fan Cave served as a daily digital content factory for Major League Baseball, turning regular visits by players and celebrities into opportunities to engage with younger fans in new ways via online video and social media.
The case for why this entry should win a Shorty
In its first season (April-October 2011), the MLB Fan Cave generated more than 1.3 billion earned media impressions, with more than 230 million via social media. Starting from scratch, the MLB Fan Cave quickly built an audience of more than a quarter of a million combined followers on Facebook and Twitter. The audience was younger (30 vs. 45) than the average avid MLB fan, as well as more engaged with the content (33% of Facebook followers either liked or shared a piece of content, up to six times typical levels for sports pages). Twitter followers include fans from 116 different countries around the world and all 50 U.S. states.
More than 170 famous guests, including 66 current MLB players, visited the MLB Fan Cave in 2011, creating viral videos and interacting with fans in a new way – including Facebook Q&A’s with across a wide range of accounts (MLB, Club, Fan Cave) – showcasing a different side of their personalities while engaging new audiences for baseball. Some of the biggest stars in baseball, including David Ortiz, David Wright, Chase Utley, Nick Swisher, Ryan Howard, Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, Justin Upton and CC Sabathia visited the Fan Cave, while celebrity guests in New York and on location at the All-Star Game included Justin Timberlake, Kate Upton, Jesse Eisenberg, Lisa Kudrow and Eric Stonestreet. In addition, the MLB Fan Cave became a fixture in the downtown NYC music scene, hosting a free summer concert series featuring popular acts including LMFAO, Sublime with Rome, We The Kings, Ashlyne Huff, Mark Ballas, Locksley and more.
Every player/celebrity visit presented a fresh opportunity -- and challenge -- to generate entertaining concepts for video and other content. David Ortiz turned his visit to the Fan Cave into a memorable search for hugs from Yankees fans on the streets of New York. Jose Bautista walked into the Fan Cave as Jose Bautista and walked out as “Joey Bats” after a brush with a “Sopranos” star. Jeremy Guthrie unwittingly stepped into a musical “intervention” over his passion for boy bands and teen pop music.
The concept has earned massive national media attention, including TIME, CNN, ABC World News, Entertainment Tonight, CBS Early Show, the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated and many others, while earning extensive praise from influential online outlets including Mashable, Yahoo, SI.com, ESPN.com, The Big Lead and more.
Video highlighting the 2011 season at the MLB Fan Cave: