Commissioner Rob Manfred introduces new plans to broaden MLB fanbase
June 24, 2022
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred made an appearance during the final game of the Colorado Rockies' two-game home stand against the Cleveland Guardians. Manfred met with teams and spoke with the media before the 8-1 thrashing that the Rockies delivered to the Guardians.
Even though Manfred has made it clear that he intends to try to quicken the pace of the game by implementing new rules (such as the new rule regarding intentional walks), he emphasized how important it is for the MLB to change its strategy to broaden its fan base to include more sports fans of a younger generation.
“While I think that for most fans, particularly our hardcore fans, we provide a great entertainment product day in and day out,” Manfred said. “Pace of game may not bother them, but we’re also interested in capturing new fans, particularly young fans. We think that a little focus on the game's pace while always respecting the history and traditions of the game will help us with that young group.”
He said he doesn't want to make a difference between game time and game speed. Most of the time, the length of a game depends on what happens on the field: how many runs are scored, how many players are on base, and how many times the pitcher has to be changed. He doesn't want to be in charge of those things because that’s a competition.
Manfred emphasizes fans' impression in single-player mode
The first thing they want to do is emphasize the function of the fan perception of a single-player play within the game.
“We’re directed at the marketing of the game, and more importantly, marketing the young stars in our game,” Manfred said. “We believe we have a tremendous opportunity because of the number and quality of young players in the game. I’m not a talent-evaluator, but you do hear the buzz around the game uniformly that we have a uniquely talented group of young players that have entered the game.”
Engagement with big sports brands
Next, they plan to engage in more direct marketing with large sports brand firms, notably one that has carried baseball close to its metaphorical heart for decades.
Manfred then said something about the sports apparel company Under Armour. In 2019, it will be the first time the consumer brand will be visible on our uniforms. This is a big change for baseball. This is a big change for a very traditional business.
They also said that they think that to market their players as well as possible, they need a big consumer brand to help them market their players as well as possible.
MLB must utilize highly talented young people
Manfred finally concluded that the best way to get young people interested in the sport is for the MLB to use the pool of very talented young players it already has.
“Then last, Under Armour skews young. It’s a brand that skews young, and it’s important for us to have that young skew,” he said. “Our broadcast partners have been great – ESPN, Turner, Fox – particularly in our national product in trying to expose our players, doing features on players, that give fans the kind of access that they want from players.”
The future seems promising for Major League Baseball now that Rob Manfred and his staff are running the show as Commissioner of the League.