Thursday, March 31, 2011

MLB Opening Day

You've gotten our previews of playoff contenders and award front-runners, but you've yet to hear our take on how the business of baseball should fare in 2011. This afternoon at approximately 1:05, the Braves, Nationals, Tigers and Yankees will kick off what is certain to be a successful season in Major League Baseball. 

From a ticket sales perspective, a recent article in SportsBusiness Journal highlighted the league's projected increase in ticket sales. According to the article, "this year's (ticket sales) total will likely fall somewhere between 75 million and 78 million, an increase of 3 percent to 7 percent." How much of this can be attributed to a recovered economy, and how much can be chalked up to initiatives from teams to drive up interest? In addition, how will the prospect of an NFL lockout impact late season ticket sales?

One way teams are trying to increase the fan experience in 2011 is through technology. Fans at ballparks across the country, including Citizens Bank Park in South Philly, will be able to use their smartphones to order food right from their seat at the ballpark. The food will then be delivered directly to their seat. 

Teams that were forced to think outside the box to generate revenue during the recent down years seem to be continuing to do so as ticket sales and revenues rebound. The Chicago Cubs, for example, have launched a "Newborn Fan Club" that offers benefits and merchandise for the youngest of fans. 

The MLB is evolving in many different ways, and their CBA expires after this season. How do you see the MLB changing and where do you think it still needs to improve? Oh, and be sure to enjoy today's first set of ballgames!

-Written by Dan Mullin

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