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Thursday, March 31, 2011

How MLB teams can get a fan...

I was the youngest of four boys in our house growing up in Fort Madison, Iowa. Playing and watching sports was a normal daily ritual at our house and in our neighborhood. After getting home from school, I usually was in the house long enough to drop off my backpack and change into my "play" clothes. Than I darted outside to engage in our own neighborhood sports league.
We played wiffle ball, tennis ball, basketball, boxing, football, and even held our own olympic competition and usually kept stats of our leagues. We would take a break at dinner time, only to continue playing until it was too dark to play. Later the neighbor's added lights for the basketball court to extend our hours of play time outside. It was these games, not an xbox or playstation, that made me enjoy sports. There was no cuts from the team, everyone got to play equal minutes whether you lacked skill or not.
Our family was split on who we rooted for in Major League Baseball. My dad and oldest brother Ken were big Cubs fans. The living room t.v. was always tuned to WGN in the afternoons for Cubs games. When they played away games in the evening, you knew by the smell of a pan of heavily buttered popped pop corn. My brother Matt was a Royals fan and I remember him many times wearing his Royal Blue KC hat. My other brother Brad became a RedSox fan. We always joked with him that he was a bandwagon fan because he seemed to like them around the time they played in the World Series(Bill Buckner fiasco). But to this day, I'm not sure I've ever met a more loyal RedSox fan in my life. I was with him in his first visit to Fenway Park, and I will say it was quite the experience to visit the old park and see the Green Monster and Citgo sign live. My Mom, like a good mom would do for her kids, seems to always root for each of her son's favorite teams when they are playing, but I think she hopes just once, that the Cubs will win it all for the pleasure it would bring to my brother and father.
I, on the other hand, am a Rangers fan. Seems unlikely that an Iowa born and raised kid would grow up rooting for a team in Texas. Well, I'm going to explain simply how a team can advertise to win over a fan for life in many cases.
There used to be a Texas channel on our local t.v. that carried World Class Wrestling and usually a Texas Rangers game was on before that. So each week, I tuned in to the end of the Rangers game until the Von Erich's wrestling show started. I quickly became a fan of the Rangers but I wasn't hooked. I eventually had a Rangers hat and continued to watch and root for the Rangers. But what hooked me for life is simple...
We traveled to Texas for a family vacation and my Uncle took the boys and my dad to Arlington for a Bluejays vs Rangers game. There I lived in a world where some kids would never see live. My first impressions inside a stadium, my first sporting event of any magnitude. My baseball card of Odibe McDowell USA card came to life as he played in center field. I was hooked, I was and am a Texas Rangers fan.
So how can kids become fans... Simple... If there are unused tickets, or if you have a chance to take someone to a live sporting event... If your an owner who wants to give tickets away... If its a promotion on giving tickets away... Give them to a kid who hasn't ever been. Let him and his family enjoy a pastime they may never envision or enjoy as much in their adult life. Gain your fans by showing them your showcase.
So in ending of this blog... Enjoy opening day....... Play Ball! Oh and for me... Go Rangers!

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