Boston Red Sox - Digital Strategy

Situational Analysis

Throughout history, sports have played an important role reflecting the way American society is established. The Boston Red Sox were founded in 1901 as one of the American League's eight charter franchises; the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since 1912.   They have played in eleven World Series, winning seven.   Playing in Fenway Park has its own sense of history and tradition.  It’s the oldest active major league baseball stadium.  Red Sox history has also been marked by the team's intense rivalry with the New York Yankees, perhaps the strongest and most historic in North American professional sports. It is important to keep the history of the Red Sox alive so they can continue to be a crowd favorite.   By effectively using new media, the Boston Red Sox will be able to increase brand awareness, educate a market, and increase the sale of tickets and merchandise. 

Audience

We are using the message “Keeping Red Sox Tradition” because it is all inclusive and allows us to target a great amount of people in the Boston and New England areas.  The Boston Red Sox are an established team and a distinct target market is the first element to successful public relations strategy.  Research about the demographics of the Boston was used to create the target audience.

  • Target Areas – Include, but are not limited to the greater Boston area, residents of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Southern New Hampshire. 
  • Target Audience – Our main target audience will include families and adults.  Users who search terms that are related to the Boston Red Sox. The average age of people living in Boston, Mass. is 30.8 years old.  About half of households in the Boston area are families.  We are targeting parents to bring their children to a Red Sox game to build a tradition of their own. It is important to make each game a memorable experience for those to attend.  Every family has their tradition and it is important that the Boston Red Sox be a part of theirs. Our strategies focus on creating emotional ties with the Red Sox which will in turn result in regular outings to the game and increased season ticket purchases. 

Key Performance Indications – Goals

The Red Sox have one of the richest histories in Baseball.  Fans love to boast about their team and the strategy will allow the Red Sox will be able to complete the following goals:

  • Increase brand awareness of history and tradition that Red Sox have to offer.
  • Gain market share of the fans and gather market data.
  • Increase page views and purchases of tickets and merchandise. 

Messages:  Big Ideas

The message, “Keeping Red Sox Tradition” will be used to promote the Red Sox as New England’s baseball team.  It will be used on all of the Red Sox’s social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook as well as their own MLB webpage and associated sites.  With over 3,773,933 Facebook likes, 379,158 twitter followers and 25,593 followers on Instagram, the Boston Red Sox are well established on social media.  These pages are important and are the fans source for insider access to the Red Sox community.  Even though the Red Sox are effectively using Social Media improvements can be made.  We want to use this message in everything from hashtags and rebranding so we can keep the tradition strong in the Boston Area!

Tools and Tactics

  • Social Media
    • Blogging is an important tool these days.  By having owner John W. Henry or the manager John Farrell keep a blog to be published every couple weeks about Red Sox's strategy we are able to target a specific fans. Creating a blog will allow the Red Sox's fans to participate in conversations by commenting and sharing the blog. It will also allow the Red Sox's to monitor what everyone is saying about the team.  Having important people write the blog or at least touch on certain topics, it will allow the source to remain credible for all fans. 
    • Using Instagram and Twitter we will have fans upload their favorite moments of the game with the hashtags #RedSox or #KeepingRedSoxTradition.  Our favorite tweets and pictures will scroll across the big screen during the 7th inning stretch and other breaks.  Also running promotional deals to win tickets, meet and greets, and freebies on twitter by retweeting certain tweets or tweeting with designated hashtags. 
    • Using Facebook to post exclusive content and special offers to our fans is important.  Expanding the about section of the Facebook page to include more information about Red Sox tradition and links to all other social media sites.  Integrating these sites will make it easy for our Sox fans to stay on top of all things Red Sox.
  • Internet Marketing
    • Google Ad words – Aggressive strategy using opponent’s names and keywords.
  • Mobile Strategy
    • Optimize content for smaller screens – Website works well on mobile site but could be reformatted for easier access. Buyer use phones for products and services and with an effective mobile website you can turn a browser into a lasting fan. 
    • Offer specials for people who check in to Fenway Park using foursquare or Facebook.  Specials may include: 20% off for merchandise, tickets to another game, or concessions.  Especially with the deals focusing on merchandise and additional tickets you are creating life-long Red Sox fans.  Not only are you giving fans benefits but expanding the Red Sox fan base to the friends of your fans through social media. 
    • Create a mobile application so Red Sox fans can get updated news and purchase tickets using just their phone. 

Budget

According to Forbes, The Red Sox have baseball's second most expensive tickets with an average price of $54.  Annual revenue is $310,000,000 so there is a lot of room with our budget.  The marketing and public relations budget consists of spending $25,000,000 per year, which is just under 10 percent of the annual revenue.  The plan is affordable yet aggressive and comprehensive. 

Summary

Our goal is to continue the tradition in Boston as it has always been, keeping the fans loyal to the Red Sox.  For years the Red Sox have been giving their fans something to look forward to each and every season.  Our short-term goal is to continue to enhance the Sox popularity within its fan base as well as expand it.  Already backed by a strong fan base, we need to acquire an even stronger one to maintain our current relationships and make new ones with our fans.  Our comprehensive digital and PR campaign will achieve our goals by combing tradition with the new world of digital involvement.