While the long summer months can make it difficult to sustain fan enthusiasm and digital engagement, the playoffs tend to kick things into high gear, and this year, MLBAM pulled out all the stops to make this a digital postseason to remember.
The twists and turns of the stories on the field helped generate strong television ratings, creating an opportunity to amplify the excitement of October far beyond game time. What’s more, of the 10 MLB teams with the largest social fan bases, seven found themselves in the 2015 postseason, providing a built-in advantage in mass reach.
With compelling storylines, larger audiences and the resurgence of iconic franchises, the bases were loaded. It was up to MLBAM to flex its digital muscle across league and team channels to capitalize on this unique moment.
At stake: This postseason was an opportunity to re-energize fans of playoff mainstays and dark horses alike and, even more important, to leverage this opportunity to bring a young audience with fading interest in baseball back into the fold. MLBAM needed to cover the postseason in a manner uniquely digital, with a fresh and exciting approach to storytelling and a focus on meaningful fan interaction.
Through a handful of smart partnerships and a modern take on digital content, MLB seized its most exciting month of the year and hit it out of the park.
Below are 10 examples, both large and small, of what the league did right during this year’s playoffs:
Sticker Keyboard and Fatheads
Why it was a big hit: Not only did the keyboard provide value to fans illustrating that MLB is dialed in to user behavior, the in-stadium promotion brought the live game experience to life in a unique way and garnered additional buzz.
Why it was a big hit: Much like the Twitter Mirror, implemented successfully across celebrity-studded events like the Oscars for the past couple of years, the SnapBat is about making content creation something the players actually want to do. Rather than piling on yet another media obligation during a stressful time, the SnapBat made supporting the MLB’s social channels fun for the stars of the game, and it generated authentic content that allowed fans to connect with their idols on a more personal level.
Snapchat Live Stories and Filters
Having already seen great success with MLB Wednesdays stories throughout the season, MLB furthered its close partnership with Snapchat to create five Live Stories throughout the 2015 postseason (game one of the American League Division Series, the Chicago Cubs’ clinching celebration, games one and five of the World Series and the World Series parade). Custom geofilters at every ballpark also allowed fans to personalize their own stories.
Why it was a big hit: With Snapchat increasing in importance when it comes to meaningful digital engagement with a young audience, MLB found a way to create content in smart and exciting ways. The Live Stories feature allowed fans tuning in on TV to see the in-stadium perspective, pulling in casual fans who might not otherwise watch any game-related content. The custom fan filters allowed individuals to share their MLB-branded postseason experiences with friends, extending the organic reach of MLB’s Snapchat content.
The Houston Astros star–an American League Rookie of the Year candidate–was a social media correspondent for MLB.com during the World Series. Carlos Correa interviewed players and celebrities during the Fall Classic, including Kansas City Royals super-fan Paul Rudd.