Let’s play ball fans

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Nor do I look at everything as “the glass is half full.” However, I must say that the current attendance numbers for our Toronto Blue Jays is a little concerning. Ok, very concerning.

The Jays, again, are off to a hot start. There is no competition from the Maple Leafs or the Raptors and Toronto FC are off to a horrible start again.

10,610 paying customers walked into the Rogers Centre last night. This was only two days after selling out the place during Opening Day.

This is the problem.

As a baseball fan and as a fan of the Blue Jays I want to help. And I’m hoping you want to help too.

So, for the next 7 days please leave a comment. Really, leave a suggestion or two. (If you’re reading this on Facebook, please take the time to come on over to www.KarimKanji.com and fill out the comments section)  And invite your friends and fellow fans to come hear and voice their opinion.

Here’s the question I’m asking:

What should the Toronto Blue Jays do to increase the average attendance to games to 30,000 this year?

Why?

I’m going to set up a meeting with the person in charge of marketing and social media and share with him our thoughts and suggestion. (He is starting to listen and has agreed to meet with me and a colleague to hear our thoughts.)

Thank you for reading.

Let’s play ball!

  • Cathy

    I’ve been a Cub leader and/or Girl Guide leader for the past 8 years.

    I am also a trainer for new Cub leaders in the Toronto area.

    What I hear over and over again is the absence of really fun group activities that are in the $5-$10 per ticket range.

    Trying to plan meetings myself, I can attest that that is true.

    We run on a very limited budget (that 50 cents a week in dues has to cover badges, program related materials AND subsidize kids in our unit who can’t afford to do camp or events themselves … you’d be amazed how far we stretch it!).

    The annual fee that the kids pay to join Scouts or Guides is totally (at least here in the ‘burbs) taken up by paying rent to schools for our meeting locations.

    I know they do a Scout Day or a Guide Day once a year .. but the dates for those often conflict with camps, or other district activities.

    Besides, I give enough time during the week without giving up my own family time to do yet another weekend event!

    What I’d love to be able to do with my unit is to get a great rate (the seats are empty ANYWAY) on whatever date I wanted .. preferably my regular meeting night.

    There’s a ton of kids who have never experienced baseball. If their parents aren’t into it, then they’ve likely never been.

    Part of the issue is to get more bums in seats now .. but that’s a temporary solution.

    Part of the longer term strategy has to be building your fan base for the next 10 – 20 years, or you’re missing the boat!!

    And that means exposing kids to the sport now.

    And, if we wanted to get really crazy (since if you don’t ask, you never get!) .. how about $1 tickets for not-for-profit groups like Scouts or Guides, providing we book them a month ahead or so .. Or build something else into it .. like in order to get that price, we’d have to send a letter and picture to the Blue Jays Foundation showing some “good turn” we’d done for a local community group.

    Just my two cents worth!

    Cathy

  • faiza

    the jays need some new initiatives to make the game day experience more memorable and more fun. the how loud can you get thing and turtle island recycling truck game are so boring now.

    would love to see clips of the players interacting with fans during the game. (the pre recorded stuff isn’t cutting it from year to year) remember how nutty the crowd went on opening day when overbay acknowledge his moustache fanclub members? that was priceless and those fans will be back!

  • aneez
  • This year they cut the Flashback Friday’s. I would go to a lot of those games. I did buy the Toronto Star Season pass this year and went to a ChiSox game. There is nothing scheduled for player/fan interaction, Last year they had a BBQ before a game in april with all the players, then you got a hot dog and a drink. That was a pretty cool event. I think there needs to be more of these kind of events. Im disappointed with this years promotions and I have been going to games since my mother started taking me in the early 80’s.

    Thanks

    Steven
    @TO_Real_Estate

  • Everyone’s talking about the Blue Jays and what a shame it is that Toronto isn’t behind them… or in the stands.

    I’m not a Jay’s fan. I’m not a baseball fan.
    I am, however, a (relatively new) Raptors fan.

    I see being a fan as making an emotional investment in a team/brand… So I would like to look at how, besides the sport itself, does one get invested in a team (the raps as my example). Also, because my life revolves around socmed, I will use it as an example and see what basic socmed lessons/theories to relate to this situation.

    Hopefully, after analyzing these two aspects, we can have a better idea as to how the Jays can improve their fan base and ticket sales.

    Building a Foundation
    The most basic case for social media is that you do it to build a community around you so that it’s there for you; and if anything goes wrong, you already have evangelists in place – rather than scrambling to get people on your side in the heat of disaster.

    The Jays need to look at what they are doing in terms of community building and figure out new ways to reach out to their potential community… and that means *beyond* a marketing strategy revolving around cheap tickets, which is my impression of what it has been recently.

    Personification
    Another socmed basic is personification – people want to know the people behind the brand… one becomes invested in the people behind the brand. I became a raps fan after meeting a couple of really nice players… then I found myself checking scores… now, I’m a full-on, standing-on-my-seat-cheering (or heckling the opposing team) fan. It’s an evolution that started with a personification of the team.

    The Jays need to consider who their stars are and who their personalities are (or could be). By personalities, I mean spokespeople, community people, players with big ones (personalities that is), and existing evangelists.

    To see my rant on the subject, check it out here> http://subtlenuances.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/please-dont-take-me-out-to-the-ball-game/

  • Pete

    3 things:

    1. Baseball is an Outside sport. I don’t know anyone who wants to be inside on a warm-ish sunny spring or summer evening. Baseball with the Dome closed is depressing. I know there would be grumpy people who forget to bring their coats if it gets chilly. But they would get used to it. The Jays should have a policy whereby the dome is always open unless it starts to rain. Actual rain, not forecast of rain. It would go a long way to bringing back some atmosphere to the Dome.

    2. Less embarassing and annoyingly loud music and announcements. Contrary to the TV people in charge of programming the game experience, this crap is noise pollution that deters people from actually cheering for the players on the field. The constant noise barrage prevents the fans from developing an actual emotional connection to the team. We can’t even cheer when their names are announced when they step up to bat. What’s the point. This is not small thing.

    3. Lower Beer Prices. Other concessions should be a bit cheaper but its the Beer prices, often over $10 that really grate most people no matter what their paying for their ticket. It contributes to a perception of being ripped off, whether its true or not. Even the publicity to be derived from lowering Beer prices in the middle of the season would be worth its weight in gold for the Jays.

    They don’t need a better team (Leafs, Raps, TFC don’t need this for sellouts). They don’t need to lower ticket prices (cheapest in the city, except for Toronto Rock) The game is simply not a good experience and it doesn’t promote a strong connection to the fortunes of the team.

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  • oh, and one more suggestion: STFU and do something about it!
    If what ur doing isn’t working (it clearly isn’t) then do things differently!

    Can’t wait to see the full story, Karim.

  • Aneez

    Aside from the obivious of building a competitive and winning team, here are some things that be done to improve the overall image of the team.

    ‘Windows’

    Transform ‘Windows’ into a free interactive play area which is open before and after games. This is to include:

    a) Area where player and coach interviews are conducted
    b) Batting cage, pitching cage – go up virtually against the Jays best hitters and arms
    c) Trophy display – Currently how accessible are the 1992 and 1993 trophies to the public?
    d) Memories Centre – How accessible are memories from the Jays history? Put up posters, video moments, ‘make your own commentary’, old newspaper headlines, previous team photos, stadium history etc. Alumni visits and signings to take place here
    e) Meet the Press. An area for tv, newspaper, radio personalities to meet the fans.

    Visible Charity

    a) What happened to players visiting local schools/little leagues and giving out tickets all season long? The program only accounts for school visits in May, extend this to the full season, and build ties with youngsters to build lasting relationships with the team.
    b) Many players contribute to their home towns. Vernon Wells is charitable, but more so in his home town and not so much in the city where he plays. Where is Toronto’s “Vernon Wells Baseball Academy”, “Cito Gaston Coaching School”, “Tom Cheek Broadcasting Centre”. Without the recognized long-term Jays giving back to the community, why should the community give to the Jays?

    In Game Promotions (along with everything else they are currently doing…)

    a) All in-game promos should include something for the fans: if there is an on-screen race, or on-field mascot race, they should race for a specific winner, not just for the sake of promoting the brand

    b) Invite more school choirs to sing the National Anthems: This can be conducted in junction with player’s visiting that school

    c) Show highlights from “This day is Blue Jay history”: Builds legacy relationship

    d) Show Jays highlights from the past week of games: Builds season/player knowledge

    e) Encourage people to encourage local businesses to display the Jays logo on their window During each game show photos of these business and where possible send them a certificate proudly declaring that they are part of the ‘Official Blue Jays Support Team”

    f) BlueJays@Work day. Ask people to send in photos of their workplace decked out in Blue Jays gear for a chance to win a visit by a player of their choice, and a team outing to see a game from a private box. Between innings, the game can then show photos from various offices and fans dressed up in Jays gear.

    g) Ask the Blue Jays drummer to play drums during the 7th inning stretch or as part of a National Anthem: promotes local hero

    h) Show selected ‘tweets’ from fans: promote Rogers

    i) Have on on-screen promo showing kids in the crowd and the banner “My First Game!”: builds long term relationship

    These are just a few of the literally hundreds of things any business can do to promote themselves. The most effective of them will not just try to win a sale, or improve an individual experience, but will attempt to build a strong bond between the fans and the brand to create a long lasting relationship.

    I hope someone out there, is listening!

    – Aneez

  • Okay so I know nothing at all about blue jays or anything other bird related sports teams. I just wanted to say Welcome to wordpress! I hope you have an enjoyable time here 🙂