MLB Insider Spills Business Insights in Sports Industry
Named one of the 30 most powerful women in sports by AdWeek, MLB’s VP of Baseball Operations Kim Ng has insight into the sports industry some of us can only dream of. As head of the international program at the MLB, she sees the sport – and the sporting industry – from all different angles.
Here’s a few main takeaways from the conversation:
Image source: Jon Soohoo/Getty
Building inroads outside your market
“There aren’t many fields [in China]. Baseball is quite down the ladder in terms of sport” Ng tells OZY. Part of running a business is knowing your weaknesses. For professional baseball, one is not being a major player in Asian sports entertainment. “We now have three academies in China. [We] just got a deal to get MLB games streamed over there.” Ng also sites not being in the Olympics (another obvious international stage) “really hurt [them]”.
Proactively infiltrate the market you see yourself approaching next. Think of it as a sort of ‘soft launch’ – make yourself known in the market so that when it comes time to introduce a product, you’ve already begun to build a relationship with them.
Utilizing nostalgia in a changing marketing landscape
“One of the things we’ve really tried to do with Major League Baseball is to constantly try to improve how we present the game” Ng explains with care. She says there are a number of ‘cool things’ the MLB is doing to engage the younger generation of baseball fans.
One fun and innovative tactic is to turn a classic baseball tradition into a digital game. The MLB has taken to Twitter to run trivia contests and win original baseball cards through the hashtag #MLBCards. Just today, a trade happened via the social media channel where a man won a Corey Seager rookie card by answering how many multi-HR games he has.
Keeping the most charming parts of your company tradition alive is an important element to your brand story. Integrating them into modern tactics isn’t as hard as it may seem! Consider the function of what you used to do, and then apply it to a modern medium. I once worked at a dental office who sent out post cards to each new patient welcoming them to the family. When it came time to retire the snail mail, we moved to sending them a ‘Welcome’ video hosted on Youtube.
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