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Bananas Baseball Marketing
Baseball season officially kicked off last weekend.
While the league’s opening games were greeted with the usual fanfare, it feels like the MLB is in a bit of slump right now.
After a delayed start to the season, cheating scandals and other controversies, many fans are feeling a little removed from the sport. Fewer people take themselves out to the ballgame each year, and less are tuning in at home.
But at a small stadium in Savannah, Georgia, America’s pastime is alive and well.
The Savannah Bananas have a waitlist for tickets 15,000 people long.
The Bananas play in the Coastal Plain League, an amateur league unaffiliated with Major League Baseball. Despite little star power or big league appeal, fans are flocking to watch the Bananas play.
The team is filling seats by rethinking what fans love about baseball from the mound up.
Here’s how owner Jesse Cole (who wears a yellow tuxedo to every game) put it to ESPN:
“All innovation is about falling in love with a problem. We saw a problem — that people were saying baseball is too long, too slow, too boring. We said, ‘How do we defeat that?’ And so we started testing on that.”
Not the Same Old Ballgame
Those innovations run the gamut, from dancing coaches to a revenue model that feels downright old-fashioned.
Every Bananas ticket is general admission – with no added fees. It’s the eager fans who show up early who get the best seats, not the ones who paid a premium. The team’s stadium has zero ads or sponsorships.
Here’s the real kicker – every ticket is “all-inclusive” and comes with all-you-can-eat hamburgers, hot dogs and more.
While other teams jack up the cost of concessions or box seats, the Bananas are counting on customers to pay for a better baseball experience.
Cole and the Bananas break that experience into “five stages” – the parking lot, the front plaza, the concourses, the grandstand and the field. The team has to deliver something memorable at each stage, Cole told Fast Company.
The Bananas have done a great job promoting those memorable experiences, including a ton of PR buzz and a massive social following. The team has 1.5 million followers on TikTok – twice as many as any team in the majors.