Take Me Out To The Ball Game With Your Customer Prospects

With rising media costs and CMOs finding it tougher to drive return-on-investment with the big net of spending into the media waters in hopes of catching customers, it’s time that some of those brands look to cohorts. Are Major League Baseball fans an option? Read on to find out if MLB is right for your brand.

Predictions of a Slow Death for MLB Could Be a Lie.

It’s widely known that Left Off Madison leaders Boris and Rob are passionate fans of their baseball teams– the New York Mets and New York Yankees, respectively. And as we have just completed two months of the 2024 season for Major League Baseball, we have been curious to see if the rumors of a rising tide of apathetic, disinterested fans were true. After all, what are Boston University or Millennial Magazine saying? I don’t think they’re fans of the game. And the Washington Post is talking about Little League baseball which like nearly any organized, serious youth sport– expensive.

As advertising professionals and ardent fans of the game, we’re always curious to understand why more national brands don’t get more engaged with MLB as an advertiser and/or sponsor. When we’ve pitched advertising programs linked to MLB, our clients seem bored by the idea no matter how much consumer insights and data that we provide supports it. Understandably, maybe our pitch needs work. Or, maybe they’ve heard the idea a dozen times. Or, maybe they’ve done it before and felt burned by it– not getting what they wanted out of it. Whatever the issue, we wanted to share some facts in hopes that it may spark some newfound attention or consideration.

As the chart below illustrates, there are 68,744,000 people who consider themselves a super fan or average fan of MLB. MLB has more fans than there are users of Coca-Cola Classic or Apple AirPods. MLB has more fans that there are HGTV network viewers in a month or the total population of Americans who have a gym membership. Despite the giant headcount of fans, it has slipped about 6-percent in the last two-plus years. This is interesting, but doesn’t tell the full story. Do average fans buy loads of MLB swag or game tickets? Do average fans drive TV viewership or radio listenership to games? What about website visits? Think about that and follow the money.

The population of Americans who regularly watch MLB games on TV has grown 5-percent to 23,519,000 in the last two-plus years. This is of importance because its viewership that helps drive ad sales and revenue to the league and teams. This is regular watchers, not casual or once-in-a-while watchers. We’d argue that this is indication of growth in valuable fans who are prime customer prospects for marketers. TV viewership is a revenue-generating platform for MLB through ad sales. As viewers grow, so does the cost to reach a thousand viewers.

The data that surprised us the most is the next one. The population of Americans who regularly attend MLB games has grown 31-percent to 1,798,000 in the last two-plus years. Again, this number represents those who regularly attend games. Why this surprised us is because the rising costs to attend a game– let alone attend many games that would qualify people who “regularly attend.” This about the cost of travel, tickets, food, and drinks. It would be interesting to look at this data again same time next year.

As a side note and not included in the chart below, interest in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) has grown 12.5-percent in the last two-plus years and its attracting 27,981,000 people who are very or somewhat interested in it. It pulls 770,000 people who regularly attend MiLB games. (We don’t have historical content on attendance.)

All this said, and naysayers may argue different elements of our findings, but one thing is for sure. MLB is growing revenue. There is no telling how high the revenue would have been if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t occurred.

Next up: what kind of products resonate strongest with MLB fans and do these brands have an existing relationship with a sports team or league? How about these below, to name a few:

Chase Bank

Cheerios, original flavor

Ball Park hot dogs (of course)

Bumble Bee canned tuna

Bank of America

Aquafina water

Perdue fresh or frozen chicken

Kikkoman Soy Sauce

Diet Coke

Oscar Meyer bacon / breakfast strips

Butterball Turkey

Coca-Cola Zero

Nathan’s hot dogs

Dunkin’ doughnuts

Nabisco Chips Ahoy


Gatorade G2

Naturally, the list goes on, but more importantly, using MLB fans as a cohort can be a highly effective advertising target solution for many brands who are presently spreading the net and budgets too wide and not seeing the return-on-investment that they would like to get.

Source: 2021-2023 MRI-Simmons Spring and Fall Doublebase USA


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