Call me crazy, but I am a baseball fan and yes shockingly, I am female. Everyday in my PR classes I study how companies target audiences with an intent to bring greater awareness to their organization and call said audience to a specific action (e.g. buy tickets, view games). One of Major League Baseball’s target audiences is their current and potential female fan base. As the MLB is showing a consistent decline in sales and viewership, it is critical to build up this female audience.
As a female who has loved the Yankees since I first stepped up to that tee at five years old (no I don’t remember the exact moment, but just roll with me here), I don’t really see how nine MLB teams plan to grow a female audience by—what I believe—is through patronizing that audience.
Adweek recently put out an article sharing how nine clubs will be holding “Ladies’ Nights.” At first glance I was a little concerned yet curious about the idea, but hey maybe that just meant a discount and a t-shirt? Wrong. The MLB’s (not all teams, just the nine) idea of a “Ladies’ Night” is giving out free jewelry, boas and wine to bring in that female audience.
And that’s where they lost me. Boas. At a BASEBALL GAME. America’s past time. You know the place for beer, hot dogs and Cracker Jacks? They want to hand out bracelets and feathered boas. Call me crazy again, but unless it is a bride-to-be’s bachelorette party, feathered boas have no place in a baseball stadium.
I understand the necessity to find ways to lure in your target audience, but stereotyping female fans so much that you believe a female will only come to a game to receive free jewelry and a boa is pretty offensive.
With the decline of MLB ratings and sales, marketing strategies need to be on point with their target audience. I get it MLB, you think if you add glitter and pink to the game, the girls will come running. But what about the fans who grew up playing catch in their backyard? The girls who went from Tee-Ball to Coach Pitch to Little League to playing for her school’s softball team and loving the actual game of baseball. These fans probably (no, definitely) don’t appreciate being alienated by the men in charge who believe you can give a male fan a baseball or bobble head at the door, but need to give a female fan jewelry and glitter. Now if at the gate you offer me a jersey or a discount on the nine-dollar beers and five-dollar hot dogs, maybe we will be in better agreement over this whole marketing thing.
I just want to add that this is not a campaign for all MLB teams as each club has their own marketing departments, opinions and strategies. It’s just nine clubs, but each of those nine clubs does represent the entire league in my opinion.
I do understand the thought process and goal behind launching this “Ladies’ Night” campaign. However, as a current female fan of the game, I just can’t help but be a little offended that it’s assumed I could be lured to a stadium with a feathered boa.
As if you didn’t already know my team: