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Be My Guest: Red Sox Beat Angels

Posted by Becky Carroll on October 3, 2007

baseball.jpg Today, I welcome a guest blogger, Lewis Green.  Lewis is a great example of building strong friendships and connections through blogs.  Although I have not met Lewis in person, we have spoken by phone and exchanged comments on each other’s blogs.  Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t!  That’s what makes an interesting conversation.  I asked Lewis if he would be so kind as to write a guest post for me, which he has done today.  

As the baseball playoffs are starting up here in the USA, Lewis writes about which team he feels will win – from a social media and marketing perspective!  Thank you, Lewis.  You rock!!

Red Sox Beat Angels

by Lewis Green, bizsolutionsplus and L&G Business Solutions

Baseball, like all businesses, depends on marketing for growth and for product sales. And nobody does it better than the Boston Red Sox. So while we Sox and Angels fans watch a battle of equals on the field in the first round of the playoffs, there is no contest when it comes to marketing. The Sox win in a rout over the Angels. Their secret weapon: they turn control of much of their marketing over to the fans.

Both Boston and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have fine web sites, featuring fan forums, players photos, videos and great souvenirs, and of course both teams invest a lot of money and marketing effort in season ticket sales. But that’s where any comparison ends. From that point on, the Sox put the hammer down on the Angels as well as most of MLB.

Sell-outs are not an issue in Boston, so marketing efforts for brand building and souvenir sales are turned over to the fans, who are made to feel a part of the team, whether or not they can get tickets to a game. It all begins with Red Sox Nation.  And if you have ever seen a Sox away game, including against the Angels, you cannot help but notice the impact Red Sox Nation has on baseball. It is not unusual for thousands of Red Sox fans to be in the seats of away games. In some places, notably Toronto, Detroit, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay, Red Sox fans frequently outnumber the home team’s fans. Even in evil Yankee Stadium, Sox fans are easy to find and even easier to hear.

Red Sox Nation is a social media site for the fans. Anyone can become a member, choosing from four tiers of membership, from free to the most expensive, the Ultimate Fan Pack, which along with Monster Memberships quickly sold out, leaving late-comers to choose either the free tier or the least expensive Fan Pack for $14.95.

Depending on the level of membership, fans receive newsletters, membership cards, bumper stickers, publications, free game-day audios,  free access to the weekly Red Sox Video Report, discounts at the team store, their own exclusive gate at Fenway Park, member’s-only pages on redsox.com, and special offers throughout the season for everything from team gear to away-game travel packages, to home-game tickets.

This year’s highlight featured the election of a new President to lead Red Sox Nation. It included a candidates debate televised on NESN, the New England Sports Network, moderated by Tim Russert of “Meet the Press,”  and held at Boston University’s George Sherman Union. Candidates included fans such as Cheryl Boyd, Great-niece of Elizabeth “Lib” Dooley, a long-time, well-known follower of the team; Cindy Brown, Head of Boston Duck Tours; Jared Carrabis, who has worn a Red Sox shirt 1,400 days in a row ; and Rob Crawford. who raises funds for education. Candidates also included legendary baseball Hall of Famer journalist Peter Gammons; former Red Sox relief pitcher Rich Garces; former Red Sox left-handed slugger Sam Horn; and Red Sox Hall of Famer and NESN analyst Jerry Remy. At the time of this writing, fans have finished voting and we now await the results.

The election has been a marketing coup. Because of Red Sox Nation, ESPN and ESPN2 have adopted the phrase to describe Sox fans, and the press, local and national, covered the Presidential race. Fans and Members love it, members come from all over the world, they buy tickets well in advance when the Sox come to their neck of the woods, and they brag on their membership to anyone who listens. You can’t buy this kind of marketing. It is social media at its best and an example for all businesses and consultants to study and mimic, if they can.

In addition to Red Sox Nation, Jerry Remy created Rem Dawg Nation.  Remy’s members receive the very popular Remy report and are the beneficiaries of freebies ranging from tee-shirts to box seats. And because Remy is on the air for nearly every Red Sox game, he markets the heck out of both Nations, adding to the appeal of membership, especially to kids who make up the team’s future customers.

In the Conversation Age of Web 2.0, the Boston baseball team’s marketing model is one we all need to pay attention to. It demonstrates the power of giving up at least some marketing control to your customers and clients. Red Sox and Rem Dawg Nation have sparked an interest in the Boston team and their products that exceed most marketing efforts, whether at multi-national companies, sports franchises, or small businesses. It demonstrates the power of Social Media as a marketing tool.

(Photo: cmillc22)

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5 Responses to “Be My Guest: Red Sox Beat Angels”

  1. Lewis,
    It turns out there is something we disagree on – who will win this playoff. Since I live 15 minutes from the stadium I am a bit of an Angels fan. You may have noticed the pictures of me in the bullpen there. I usually use it when I am talking about pitching a company for investment.
    So, I guess we’ll see who makes it a true Red October this year. The sputtering Sox or the injury prone Angels. :)

  2. Roger,

    Game 1: Sox 4, Angels Zip

  3. Roger, I knew this would be controversial for my southern California readers! Personally, I am following Ice Hockey…

    Good post on pitching for investment, too. Nice photo! :-)

  4. Lewis, thanks for the update…

  5. Human-01 said

    Lewis GO GO !

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