Baseball is about to start and I was thinking about our two home teams, the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants; and how the two franchises market themselves differently. I decided to do some research:
The A’s in 2011 posted an operating profit of $23.2 million from$161 million in revenue. It grew its value from $180 million to $307 million in just five years but it ranks 29 out of 30 teams. Interestingly enough, they consistently lead the league in win per dollar spent.
The Giants on the other hand had $29.9 million in profits from $230 million in revenue in 2011 and is worth an estimated $563 million. It was worth $471 prior to winning the World Series. It ranks 7th
I confess I was surprised to find out the Oakland A’s were profitable at all. Of course the profits were only possible because MLB revenue sharing structure. So… if they are recording that kind of profitability how come they don’t focus on awareness and brand affinity?
As far as the product goes the SF Giants are clearly superior. They have recently won a World Series and Ross Dautel, in a Bleacher Report article, predicts they will make it to the playoffs in 2012. The A’s in the other hand, haven’t been competitive for a while and, according to SFGate.com, most experts predict they will finish in last place in their division this year. From a baseball fan’s perspective, I ask where is the love? What happened with ‘feeding’ the fan connection by keeping their beloved players around? I have to ask: Are the A’s only interested in staying profitable despite having the lowest attendance in the league?
The SF Giants arguably have much more Social Media impact. Facebook likes on their official fan page are at just under 1.3 million while the A’s have 295,000. The disparity on twitter is just as great, as the Giants have 222,000 following @SFgiants as opposed to a little over 30,000 following @Athletics. The Oakland A’s have won awards for best TV and Social Media at the Sports Forum for their Green Collar baseball campaign but that didn’t seem to close the gap between them and the SF Giants.
Bottom line is that you can be as creative as you’d like, massage the numbers to create success illusion, and you can score all the Social Media and Advertising awards, but the core of marketing still stands: the product quality is fundamental!
1- This is a very simplistic overview of the baseball business. You are welcome to give your take on the topic and help us celebrate the “boys of summer”.
2- This post would not have been possible without the help of Patrick Kevill (@pkevill). After all, what does a Brazilian native understand about the American pastime anyways