No More Baseball “Clinics” for Women, Engage Female Fans as Fans- Every year we hear about the “clinics” teams hold to “teach” baseball to women and girls. This is an outdated idea that ignores nearly half the major league baseball fan base who already knows baseball, and plenty of girls who are or have played the game. MLB teams need to begin treating women fans as the knowledgeable, passionate fans and consumers that they are.
Instead of the same old workshops, teams can create baseball trivia contests to win team merchandise, have a Q&A that involves a coach or player and allow them to ask some fan based questions about the season or fun random stuff that fans love hearing about (favorite music, most fun teammate, etc.,). They can also give them an opportunity to play a little baseball on the field, without condescending to them about how to play with things like “Baseball 101.” They know. They watch. Treat them that way. One coach was quoted as saying of a past clinic, “The women were very knowledgeable.” You don’t say?
If men were at this clinic, how would MLB teams approach them? They need to consider that for the future.
Host Domestic Violence Awareness Nights in Addition to Pink Nights for Breast Cancer- MLB teams haven’t been brave when it comes to domestic violence. Long viewed as a “personal” or “family” issue and certainly as a woman’s issue they didn’t want to touch too closely, they’ve dropped the ball on a play that should be easy. Show women that an issue that affects 3-in 10 women (29%), by hosting a night of awareness that benefits a local organization. MLB teams are proud of their “Pink” events, which see baseball bats turn pink and women ticket-buyers treated as important. The fear of a night that talks about domestic violence is insulting and transparent. When teams employ a player who’s been arrested for DV, it’s kind of a sticky situation, huh? Time to be brave and take more than a technical stand with a Domestic Violence Policy; they must take a philosophical stand to send a clear message about commitment to this issue.
Assign a dollar amount for every ticket sold that goes to a domestic violence shelter, design a hat for the day, and honor a local advocate or organization and present a check in a pre-game ceremony. Stop leaning into this, MLB. Fully commit.
Survey Female Fans in the Off-Season – While this one takes some logistical planning, it can be done. On the MLB site, perhaps, they could offer this opportunity to women who frequently attend games with half or full-season packages. By narrowing it to those fans, MLB can communicate with the most devoted female fans and consumers. Ask them about the merchandise offered, the promos they’d like to see, and what kind of events they’re most interested in. In doing this, MLB will better understand women who love the game and put their hard earned dollars toward attending games throughout the season.
MLB needs to evolve and start talking to women not as a commodity or outsider, but as genuine and dedicated baseball fans.