Monday, October 18, 2004

New and Improved!

Major League Baseball's marketers are looking to wrap the World Series in more dramatic packaging
By Brian Steinberg
The Wall Street Journal
October 18, 2004

The World Series doesn't start until Saturday, but if Major League Baseball got this year's marketing campaign right, TV viewers already are hooked on the Fall Classic.

Marketers this year have tried to get people to think of baseball's postseason -- the championship series and the two rounds of playoffs that lead up to it -- as one grand tournament. The motto is "8 Teams, 1 Champion," a slogan that has been spread through TV, radio and print advertising and other outlets.

The hope is that people will be caught up in the unfolding drama of the playoffs and be more interested in seeing how it all turns out -- interested enough, at least, to reverse a long-term decline in World Series TV ratings.

To jump-start this newly packaged postseason, Major League Baseball held its first-ever "Rally Monday" on Oct. 4, the day before the playoffs began. In the eight cities that are home to teams that made the playoffs, events were staged that amounted to pep rallies, with live music, giveaways and contests aimed at whipping up enthusiasm among fans. Baseball executives likened the hoopla to a national "baseball holiday" on the order of Opening Day.

With its new marketing approach, baseball is aiming to turn what has been a weakness, in terms of attracting viewers, into a strength. The issue is that, unlike football's Super Bowl -- whose viewership is the envy of all sports -- the World Series isn't a one-day event. With anywhere from four to seven games needed to determine the champion, the Series lacks the immediacy that has helped draw to the Super Bowl millions of viewers who never watch another football game during the course of the year.

Read the entire article at the Wall Street Journal website (Subscription Required)