Sales and marketing for a professional sports organization is far easier when you’re winning. But each season, only a handful of teams enjoy that opportunity.
The objectives for every team, however – good or bad – remain the same: sell tickets, drive associated revenue, make money. When the product on the field isn’t at the top of its game, you have to shift how you think about what you’re selling.
If fans in your market think of your team as purely a competitive product, you lose. Your product isn’t very good (at least right now). But what if your product is about more than just the game? Who are you really competing against in your marketplace?
Consider the alternative options for entertainment in your market. If the team is winning, more fans will want to come and enjoy the game. But even if the team isn’t winning, you still offer a compelling product. A family atmosphere. A place for young people to come hang out together. A great place to enjoy a warm summer afternoon.
Think of the pockets of the market that care less about team performance and more about the experience. Kids that come for the cotton candy and mascots don’t care about the scoreboard, yet they bring their family with them. If the outfield veranda becomes known as a great place for young singles to hang out, you’ll sell a lot of beer despite your team’s ERA.
Your ballpark, your games, can become a gathering place for the community. Your market’s premier family destination. The ideal corporate offsite. The cool place to go with friends after work.
The product doesn’t change. You’re still playing baseball. But that doesn’t mean what you’re selling is just baseball.