Today marks the home opener for our Toronto Blue Jays, and while we’re only three games into the season (with a 2-1 record) thoughts go back to the back-to-back World Series wins in 1992 and 1993. Back in the early ’90s the only way you could keep up with your favorite team was to listen to the game on the radio, watch the TV broadcast (in major markets) or wait until the next day and read the line score and game analysis in the newspaper.
It’s mind boggling to consider how much things have changed in just the past 20 years. While radio, TV and newspaper are certainly still around, fans can follow every pitch, hit and run live on their smartphone or tablet no matter where they are.
In 2000, Major League Baseball created BAM (Major League Baseball Advanced Media) to centralize the management of MLB.com and the web sites of the 30 teams in the league. BAM has gone on to become a digital broadcasting powerhouse earning an estimated annual revenue of $620 million last year. That revenue comed from the 2.2 million paid subscribers to MLB.tv ($120/year, AtBat smartphone apps ($3.99/month), licensed highlight packages to other media companies, streaming of nearly 18,000 live events for others including ESPN and March Madness, and the 10 million visitors to the MLB.com website. BAM’s live content is available not only through web browsers and mobile devices, but also the Xbox 360, Roku and PlayStation 3 devices.
In addition to BAM’s broadcasting capabilities and team websites, they’ve added a group of digital correspondents to augment the social media efforts they manage for each team. In 2012 BAM has expanded their social media efforts beyond established platforms like Twitter and Facebook to create Google+, Tumblr and even Pinterest profiles for each of the league’s 30 teams.
To create the volumes of content needed to keep fans informed, BAM employs the largest staff of beat writers in baseball, one at every ballpark. The reports from the official writers are augmented with digital correspondents who send behind-the-scenes photos and short updates to MLB headquarters where they are published to the league’s Cut4 site and made available through the league and team’s social media profiles.
BAM provides a great example of the advantages of centralizing and standardizing the management of digital and social media efforts at a corporate level while enabling the character of each of group (in this case, team) to connect with its fans (customers).
Each team’s social media profiles can be accessed through a Social Media Clubhouse (Blue Jays example) or in the ‘Connect With’ widget on the bottom of their homepages.
OK (OK) Blue Jays (Blue Jays), Let’s Play Ball!