Tuning in to tonight’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game? If you do, keep your eyes peeled for the formal promos of MLB’s consumer-generated website Actober.com. I’m sure we’ll all be sick of it come October (the promos, that is, not the site itself).
Longtime readers know I’ve often been skeptical of MLBAM (the digital arm of the owners of all 30 MLB franchises). It’s nothing personal, it’s just that, as purveyors of America’s Pastime, they’ve been given a product most marketers would kill for, yet they often seem to be actively trying to drop below the NBA in the court of public opinion. It’s gotten so bad at times, the Consumerist aptly dubbed MLBAM the “Department of Hating Your Customers.”
Recently, Newsweek profiled the organization and hailed it as a huge success, given that revenues are up 30% to a whopping $400M. Keep in mind, before you buy the hype and tout them as “the grand slam online leader,” these guys have inventory that includes unlimited supplies of memorabilia, authentic hats & gear, tickets (both retail as well as those they resell) FOR ALL 30 FRANCHISES–not to mention an advertising model that has a steady stream of big name brands who essentially advertise online to round out the rest of their MLB sponsorship campaign (and round up on the balance sheet). $400M per yr? Let’s talk when they get to $4B/yr online.
Sounds high, I know… until you realize the 30 franchises do over $50B combined revenue each year. Is setting the bar below 10% really striving too high? I digress, as I promised myself this wouldn’t be an overly negative post.
Back to Actober.com, I actually have a good feeling about this. Honest, transparent, non-self-serving (or at least, not only self serving). This isn’t Chevy revisited. (Or at least it doesn’t appear to be. ) Of course, the execution has yet to be seen, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see baseball fans, past and present, more actively engaged this October, and not just to tune in to a possible revised version of the 1986 World Series–but, you know, with an alternate ending.