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Now entering its 4th season, the MLB Fan Cave is a powerful marketing platform for MLB, growing its social media audience while engaging a fan base 20 years younger than the average baseball fan.
2014 will see the next evolution of the MLB Fan Cave with the launch of a new partnership with MTV. Starting in April, a new weekly series hosted from the Fan Cave will launch on MTV2 moving beyond game analysis, stats and highlights to showcase MLB athletes off the field, spotlighting the stars' personalities and passions through a series of player interviews and features, in addition to celebrity appearances.
Despite a wildly successful launch in 2011, MLB has continued to study its audience, learn from what works best and constantly evolve both the concept and creative vision of the Fan Cave.
The MLBFanCave.com Concert Series continues to build upon its season by season successes, solidifying itself as an attractive opportunity for artists and labels, who benefit by reaching a huge audience of baseball fans. Through this multi-faceted cross-promotional platform, MLB continuously broadens and diversifies its reach, tapping into the artist’s fan base to grow the sport in non-traditional and creative ways. After receiving sponsorship from MLB partner Anheuser-Busch, the 2013 Concert Series featured top tier artists ranging from Avicii and Afrojack to The Wanted and Tegan & Sara.
New to the Fan Cave in 2013, the Art Gallery helped bridge the gap between baseball and pop-culture, while adding to the unique culture of downtown Manhattan. In its first year, the Gallery attracted and featured the work of known, contemporary artists and hosted an All-Star themed event, which garnered nontraditional media and fan attention to the Midsummer Classic. Through regularly hosted openings and events averaging 150 people in attendance, MLB attracted diverse media outlets focusing on art, fashion and urban street culture including The New York Times Art Beat, Blouin Art Info and Vibe magazine.
The core of the MLB Fan Cave is the daily video content created through regular visits by MLB players and celebrities. Every famous visitor presents a fresh opportunity -- and challenge -- to generate entertaining concepts for video and other content.
Through three years, the MLB Fan Cave has built an audience of more than 2.5 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. That audience has grown exponentially over the years (250K followers through end of 2011 and 1.3 million through end of 2012).
Fans have come to learn that the MLB Fan Cave is the premier platform for baseball debate, original graphics and memes, compelling photos, curated viral content and trending stories. Fans can also win prizes on Twitter every night. As a result, the MLB Fan Cave social media accounts experienced tremendous growth (105% increase in Facebook fans from 2012, 65 % increase in Twitter followers, 250% increase in Instagram followers) while maintaining an extremely high level of engagement (47% unique like rate on Facebook, more info below). The MLB Fan Cave blog shifted its strategy in 2013, focusing on curated stories that evoke emotion. These efforts resulted in a 322% increase in blog viewership.
In particular, the MLB Fan Cave Instagram account has become one of the most popular baseball accounts on the platform, growing its following by 250% during the 2013 season to 140,000 fans. MLB Fan Cave Instagram photos have generated 9,206,646 likes and 156,779 comments in total, with photos frequently making the popular page.
Since its inception, the MLB Fan Cave has generated more than 10.5 BILLION earned media impressions. This amount of exposure is the equivalent of $193 million in advertising.
Perhaps the most important statistic related to the MLB Fan Cave: the average fan of the MLB Fan Cave is a full twenty years younger than the average avid MLB fan overall (25 vs. 45, with 70% of Fan Cave fans under 34), proving that the MLB Fan Cave is accomplishing one of its goals of engaging younger fans and helping build the next generation of baseball fans.
The MLB Fan Cave concept has earned massive national media attention, including TIME, CNN, ABC World News, Entertainment Tonight, the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated and many others, while earning extensive praise from influential online outlets and a multitude of industry awards. Sports business reporter Darren Rovell called the MLB Fan Cave “Perhaps the craziest, most ambitious, yet perfect idea a sports league has ever come up with.”