Major League Baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers is preparing to step up its fan engagement levels as it seeks to remain ahead of the curve in the crowded California sports space.
Speaking to USA Today Sports, Peter Guber and Tucker Kain – the Dodgers’ owner and president of business enterprise, respectively – outlined their vision to attract new fans to the team, which last year set a club record attendance at Dodger Stadium.
Last month, Dodger Stadium moved a step closer to having an on-site aerial gondola installed after the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) signed a letter of intent with Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies (ARTT).
The initiative would provide an innovative means of transport for Dodgers supporters on game days and is an example of how the team is seeking to revolutionise the fan experience.
Kain previously served as the Dodgers’ chief financial officer and last week was promoted to his new role of president of business enterprise. Speaking of Kain’s remit, Guber told USA Today: “He has to find a way furiously to curate new audiences at the young level and connect with them.
“He has to go out hunting where the elephants are. He has to speak their language because the new generation of fans consume games in a different way.
“It’s not so much people interested in the statistics of baseball, but Fortnite, League of Legends, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, the immediacy of the environment, the gamification, fantasy, gambling and the social aspects of the narrative. If you don’t grow new tomatoes, you’re not going to have much marinara sauce in the future.”
Kain said: “We’re figuring out a way to create more personalised fan experience to make sure have the experience that’s valuable to them, and potentially unique to them.’’
USA Today notes that the Dodgers have sampled venue experiences at MLB rivals and also studied the Oakland Athletics’ recently-announced season ticket policy as it seeks to step up its own fan engagement.
Guber added: “We want to turn the audience from passengers into participants. This is show business. We’re going to take chances. If we don’t take them now, when?”
ARTT is not the only firm with ambitious transport plans for Dodger Stadium. In August, The Boring Company, which is owned by US business mogul Elon Musk, proposed an innovative solution called Dugout Loop, a zero-emissions, high-speed, underground public transportation system from the Los Feliz, East Hollywood, or Rampart Village neighbourhoods.
Kain has publicly supported The Boring Company’s project but it remains unclear whether both this and the aerial transit system would be implemented at Dodger Stadium.
Image: Frederick Dennstedt