Business Strategy and Competitive Environment of Minor League Baseball Team
Baseball is probably one of the most famous sports in the United States, along with basketball. It is very prominent and well-played in different parts of the United States, and is rapidly spreading throughout the world. It is even considered as United States’ national pastime. Minor Leagues pertain to professional baseball teams that play on levels lower than that of the minor leagues and teams in the minor league usually is an affiliate member of a major league baseball team. Competitors of Sports Baseball as a form of entertainment has a number of stiff competitors.
There is the media with all of its forms — television, movies and internet. There are also an increasing attendance in theme parks, amusement parks and even carnivals.
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Baseball’s tickets would also be an additional expense to a household’s budget. All the more that’s people may be dragged away from enjoying the actual game. Movies never go out of fashion because there will always be something new for the audience. The themes of movies are well-thought of. There are various genres that would definitely fit any individual’s taste and preference.
For every craving of the people, the media will innovate something to fulfill these cravings. Television, a long temptation for youngsters and competition to other forms of entertainment, still gets much attention from the populace. Television offers a wide array of shows for all genders of different ages. With the cable channels and other features and programs in television, most people would rather stay at home watching television instead of going out to watch sports games or even engage themselves in playing sports. Theme parks and amusement parks also offer a lot of fun, especially for the family.
All of these things are stiff competitions for the baseball industry or for sports industry in general. The Birmingham Barons, a minor league baseball team based in Birmingham, Alabama is the focus of this paper. The minor league baseball team, Birmingham Barons, is one of the most recognized baseball teams in the United States. The history of the team will be traced back in 1885 where it was played by many during the early years of baseball. Nearly two-thirds of Barons’ fans attend the games with family members. The typical fan is a college-educated and in an upper to middle income (Birmingham Barons, LLC, 2007).
During 1990s Hispanic population in Alabama increased for more than 210%, almost 27% of which are in the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area which the leading U. S. center for the Hispanic population growth and business development (Shattuck, 2005). Birmingham, Alabama also has lots of museums; Arlington Home, Alabama Museum of Health Sciences, Southern Museum of Flight, Bessemer Hall of History, Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, and the Birmingham Museum of Art, the largest museum in the location, are just some to name. A number of festivals are also found in Birmingham, which features music, films, regional heritage.
Future Objectives With these competitive environment of baseball in Birmingham that may be pulling the audience away from the game, the management of the said minor league baseball team should innovate ways to attract not only the Whites, but also the Hispanic masses especially now that there is a rapid growth of Hispanic population in Birmingham, Alabama. The management could consider developing a more easy to recall jingle or song, that whenever played in radio stations and television, will cling more to the minds of the people.
The Birmingham Barons could also be more visible, not only to the popular masses, but also to those in small towns. Through this, more and more people could know the team and they would be more psyched to see them play. Visibility in advertisements and community work could also help in making them known. Advertisements are a seemingly sure, yet expensive way, of making the team closer to the people’s heart. Birmingham Barons has existed since 1885, thus their advertisement need not be that expensive. What they need is mass promotion.
To know which of the media is most effective for the advertisement, the management may conduct Audience Needs Analysis. This is a survey to determine the medium preferred or most used by the people. For example, they tuned in more often to radio than on televisions. Or most of the people have radio sets than television. Once the management was able to determine the medium preferred by people, they would know where they could put more advertisement about their league. They may also target community radio stations, community television networks, and community newspapers.
These media are not run through sponsorship and thus may accept advertisements and announcements for free. In addition, it caters to the community especially to the grassroots therefore reaching a large number of people. Another strategy to get the attention of people especially the youngsters would be a visit to the places far away from the main office of the team. They could reach out for the out-of-school youth and for those who cannot go to their free games. These people are probably not that exposed to the game and to the team as well and thus did a little or no effort at all to go and watch the live games.
They may also strengthen their fan clubs that will be of great help in promoting their teams and the baseball. The Birmingham Barons could also have school and campus tours. They could visit different primary and secondary schools, introduce their teams to the students, and promote baseball games. In these ways, they will be more visible and exposed to these young people who might have interest with sports. And perhaps for those who don’t have any interest, it would be a start to develop even a little love for sports.
In terms of the number of games which saturated the people, they could have what is so-called Special Game. In here, they may go against the usual happenings in their games. For example, they will have guests from the show business in this specific date of game, a famous actor or actress perhaps. Current Strategies To attract more audience, the management of the Birmingham Barons and the whole minor baseball league offer discounts for the early buyers of tickets, for wholesale buyers of tickets and for long-time customers.
These steps encourage baseball fanatics to reserve tickets earlier and these also heighten the loyalty of the audiences to the baseball team. The team and managements give small gifts and thank you tokens to their fans for their loyalty. They actually give souvenirs and give-aways after the games. The team do play games at 11:00 am designed for school children. Schools get a heavily discounted game and meal ticket for the game and since they start at 11:00 they still get back to the school before 3:00.
They also have youth clinics where children come to the park on Sundays and learn from our players. The Barons created a “Home Run” for the Community Donation Program wherein they give tickets to the non-profit organizations. The non-profit organizations then use the tickets as silent auction items or door prizes and the proceeds were donated. Another community based activity of the Barons is their tie-up with the Pull-A-Part “Pulling against Child Abuse” promotion where they gave donation to a Children’s Hospital (Birmingham Barons, LLC, 2007).
As of now, Barons have what they call Sponsorship/Marketing Kit which includes scoreboard, yearbook, radio and stadium advertising. They call for business advertisements during their games through these advertisement mediums. These have become attractive for advertisers because their captive audiences are people of middle to upper classes. As a minor league baseball team, they already have a capability of collecting funds through these sponsorships and that enables them to reach out to the masses. Assumptions and Capabilities
The Birmingham Barons are already getting a big income through sponsorships and tickets sales. Most probably, their income will not actually be affected by giving extra discounts for the long time customers, early and wholesale ticket buyers, and most especially to young fans, Latino or Hispanic fans who may be driven away by other forms of entertainment the Birmingham is rich for. Birmingham Barons has already a good business strategy – they have that Marketing and Sponsorship kits which includes radio advertising, and they also have their official website.
This has already enabled them to captive a large number of audiences. In addition, they are also involved in community services and an example is that “Home Run” for the Community Donation Program. The thing they must have some changes is about their target audience. Baseball should not be just for those who have money and can afford to buy tickets, but for other members of the society also. Baseball is a game for kids as what Barons General Manager Jonathan Nelson said during their tie up with Pull-A-Part (Birmingham Barons, LLC).
That’s why I also believe it should be promoted especially to young generation of fans. Baseball is not also for whites, but for everyone. Thus, it is also good to promote this with others like the Hispanic or Latino. And it is good to know that Birmingham Barons is offering a family-oriented entertainment through this sport. There are really many factors to be considered and studied carefully before acting or making decision especially in business and its environment. The key point is to focus on the goal and what is really needed.
But the goal is not just to increase the income of sports but must be beyond it. They must also aim to promote the love and patronize for sports. Just think what will happen if the young people of today’s generation will lose interest to sports. And with the Birmingham Barons existence and fame for more or less one hundred years, I know they can make it to the people’s heart to once again gain their attentions and affections for sport. References Birmingham Barons, LLC. (2007). Birmingham Barons. Retrieved November 9, 2007, from http://www.
barons. com/marketing/Barons07-MediaKit. pdf Birmingham Barons, LLC. (2007). “Home Run” for the Community Support Program. Retrieved November 9, 2007, from http://www. barons. com/thebarons/ communitysupport. shtml Birmingham Barons, LLC. (October 2, 2007). Home Runs Help Prevent Child Abuse. Retrieved November 9, 2007, from http://www. barons. com/nm/publish/barons705. shtml Shattuck, Michael. (2005). Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area Population Diversity Summary. Retrieved November 9, 2007, from mhrc. dopm. uab. edu/ resources_new/Birmingham