The Baltimore Orioles and GM Mike Elias are headin for the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. But as they do so I wanted to bring to light an article I read this week. Keegan Matheson of The Score published an interesting piece regarding the fact that teams around the league are being forced to re-think how they market tickets.
You can read the article for yourself, as I’ve linked it above. This is somewhat synonymous with the ongoing discussion between the Millennial Generation and those who came before them. Part of it centers around the fact that younger fans are seemingly wanting games to be more of a social event.
The article states that many fans are turned off by sitting in stands which are designed for one to be able to socialize with people in their general area. I suppose I would rebut that with, how exactly would they like the seating bowl to look? Speaking for myself, I’m not opposed to ballparks having “party decks,” In fact I think it’s a good idea; it’s something we see at Camden Yards both on the outfield rooftop, and on top of the scoreboard in right field.
I suppose my issue is that everyone seems to now have to market tickets with other amenities. The article also states that many teams are now marketing food among other things with tickets. So…the message is that people only want to go to games now if there’s a freebie involved? Again, I’m not opposed to teams offering ticket packages that include a food credit. I just find it somewhat sad that it’s come to this.
But perhaps that’s the way society is going. Many movie theaters now offer a “discount day,” whereby all moves all day long are $5 or something along those lines. So I suppose that every area of the sports & entertainment industry is now having to re-think it’s marketing.
Ironically the Orioles are fairly forward-thinking in this area. Last year of course the Angelos family started allowing fans to purchase tickets and bring their kids for free. And I thought that was a great idea because it gave people a reason to get their kids involved in the ballpark experience early. The Orioles also have always had great giveaway promotions, such as Floppy Hat night, hat day, jersey day, etc.
I suppose however what people are saying is that all of that is no longer enough. To me, buying a ticket to a game and getting a free hat for walking through the gates is a great perk. Heck, you can also bring your kids in for free? Even better! However what it appears is that people would rather get free food and social engagement as opposed to all of that.
So where does this leave the Orioles? Tough to say. Baltimore’s always been an old school type of baseball town. And I for one don’t think that should ever change. However with all of the changes in the organization and the youth movement on the field, 2019 looks to be a year in which the team might struggle at the box office. What comes first, the chicken or the egg?