MLB’s Social Media Home Run

by Jason Mollica on July 7, 2010

By Jason Mollica

The Mid-Summer’s Classic, also known as Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, is set to take place July 13 in Anaheim, Calif.  But there is a ton of action already on the online diamond.  The Internet has become a virtual playing field for marketing baseball’s “Final Vote,” a chance for fans to determine who the final player will be for the National and American League rosters.

Supplementing the now traditional in-stadium and online voting for the final player, MLB has jumped head first into the Twitter pool by urging fans to use the hash tag to show support for their candidate.  For example, fans of San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell are using “#VoteHeath.” Although the hash tags don’t count in the vote, it’s another example of how brands are using social media to build excitement and add fans.

The Twitter campaign for the Final Vote can already be considered a success. In the first 48 hours of the four-day competition, 22 million votes were cast to decide the 34th and final roster spot. Voting concludes on Thursday at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

In some cases, the players are acting as their own campaign managers.  New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher, one of the four hopefuls for the final AL spot, has a Twitter account.  On it, he has been asking his fans and celebrity followers for their vote.  Supporters of “Swish” have been using the hash tag “SendSwish” along with a link to the voting page.  Conversely, MLB’s Twitter account has been using the hash tag “#FinalVote” so fans can follow along with the results.

There is some sentiment that this type of promotion is nothing more than a popularity contest.  My slant? If it helps to promote the game of baseball and opens the game in a new way to fans, it’s a victory for MLB.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ColinJP July 8, 2010 at 9:28 am

You make a great point that too many people often don’t see! There doesn’t always have to be a direct link between what you are tweeting and $, it’s more about engagement. I give MLB props for this especially since they’ve seemed slow to catch on to social media and been so protective of their ‘property’. That said, from a baseball prospective I think this is one arena where fans already have too much control. It’s an All-Star Game, not a popularity contest. Someone needs to remind the fans that “this one counts” 🙂

Reply

Jason Mollica July 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Colin,
Thanks for the reply! I agree that the actual All-Star voting gets out of control. Placido Polanco was leading David Wright and the Mets third baseman is having a way better year. Of course, Wright ended up getting the starting nod, but still.

In the case with the Final Vote, I think it’s great to see fans get really excited about seeing their guy go to the game. The Red Sox and Reds are teaming up to get Joey Votto into the game and the Cowboys are getting their fans to vote for the Rangers’ Michael Young. That is really great cross-marketing!

Reply

Leave a Comment