The Female Fan and the Business of Baseball
Every game I attend, I see these two teenage girls wearing Ethier jerseys. They stand at the foot of the dugout before the first pitch religiously. When Ethier comes to the field, he is always so gracious with them. He chats with them and they swoon. (Update: Thanks to Jon SooHoo of the Dodgers for finding them all this weekend to take the photo above!) It?s a really sweet moment that I look forward to seeing every game upon my arrival.
The other night while I was there watching Ethier make these girls’ day, it got me thinking ?- has free agency affected the female baseball fan? What happens to these girls when it?s Ethier?s time to sign his big contract, Boras is his agent (god forbid) and he goes to another team (god forbid)?
Go with me on this.
In my business, and especially the T.V. side of my business, networks specifically do their best to target the most loyal demographic with their programming. What is the most loyal demographic? The 18-34 year old woman is notably the most loyal fan. Not only are women the most loyal fans, but also they are statistically proven to be the largest consumers. The networks love this because it means they get more money for their airtime. Advertisers paying for
the airtime love this because it means the shows that cater to this demographic (Grey?s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, etc.), have a loyal following that will absorb what they are selling and be loyal consumers to their product.
The way the baseball business is run nowadays, with players coming and going, I wonder how this affects the female baseball fan — the teenager who is a fan because of the player she worships. Or the teenager who grows up watching Lo Duca in blue for six years. How does the way baseball business is run affect the loyal female fan or the potential female fan? And do you think baseball would have more female fans if there were more franchise players signed to longer contracts?
It?s just a theory . . . what do you think?
I look forward to reading your thoughts on this.
Be sure to watch the Bottom Line live studio show on MLB.com at 3:25 p.m. ET on Monday, because I will be talking more baseball then!