It may be an extreme promotion from the cutting-edge St. Paul Saints, but a social-networking event underscores how many baseball teams are using the power of new media to talk directly to fans.
It may be an extreme promotion from the cutting-edge St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association), but a social-networking event underscores how many baseball teams are using the power of new media to talk directly to fans.
During the Saints' July 23 game players, coaches, fans and employees will be asked to update their Facebook status, post photos and send tweets so that baseball fans around the world will know exactly what is going on at Midway Stadium. Saints pitching coach Jason Verdugo is expected to tweet during a trip to the mound to speak with one of his pitchers and other players and coaches are expected to tweet from the dugout.
"We've always prided ourselves on the intimate relationship between our fans and players,” said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer. “This takes it to a whole new level."
Fans will get to see the team's updated Facebook, MySpace and twitter pages during the game displayed on the Saints videoboard. Fans will check out the live status of Saints players. For example, when Saints first baseman Jason Cooper comes to bat, his Facebook status may appear on the videoboard stating "Jason Cooper is…at the plate" or "Jason Cooper is…upset at that last strike call."
Saints staff members and ushertainers such as Mudonna, famous massaging nun Sister Ros, beer vendor Trixster and Superfan will let provide a unique perspective with updates during the evening. Fans in attendance July 23 and monitoring the conversation at home are encouraged to use the hashtag #saintstweetup on twitter in an effort to make the Saints the first minor-league baseball team to become a trending topic on the social media site.
While a lot of what's generated at this game will be noise — I love Sister Rosalind, but I'm not sure I care about what she is doing in the midst of a game — the whole thing underscores how powerful social media can be in terms of a team relating directly to fans. Many teams have launched Twitter accounts and Facebook pages (as we have as well; Facebook is now the #1 referrer to Ballpark Digest, far surpassing Google) and report good feedback from the moves. We'd point to the experience of the Saints with almost 1,400 fans on Facebook, many of whom seem to genuinely enjoying the Saints ethos and scoping out ticket deals. Other teams seem to have used social networking to good effect — Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Class AA; Texas League) GM Eric Edelstein is an active participant on Facebook as is Fort Worth Cats (independent; American Association) GM John Dittrich), while the Reno Aces (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) have attracted needed attention via Twitter — and as social networking gains in popularity, it will be come a staple for every sports team. (Yes, go ahead and friend me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kevin.reichard.) –Kevin Reichard
Subscribers to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter see articles before they're posted to the site. You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.