According to a study by the consumer research firm Brand Keys, MLB ranks third in fan loyalty behind the National Football League and National Basketball Association, but ranks ahead of the National Hockey League.
The study cites the sportâ€™s PED issues, in part, for the results.
Brand Keys (www.brandkeys.com) Â believes that MLBâ€™s new "This is Beyond Baseball" ad campaign comes at an opportune time for the league to work toward swinging fan loyalty in a more positive direction. That ad campaign will "celebrate baseball's unique place in the cultural fabric of society and in the lives of fans," and will be divided into four segments: Family and the bonds baseball can create; Ballparks and the impact they've made on their hometowns; Community and MLB's corporate social contributions; and Culture, the impact baseball has had off the field.
Brand Keys also released the top-5 and bottom-5 teams in the MLB in terms of loyalty and engagement going into the 2009 season. They are:
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. New York Mets/New York Yankees
4. Anaheim Angels/Los Angeles Dodgers
5. Oakland Athletics
1. Florida Marlins/Seattle Mariners
2. Washington Nationals/Colorado Rockies/Texas Rangers
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
According to Brand Keys, â€śSince overall league and team rankings correlate highly with TV viewership and sales of licensed merchandise, and rankings can be influenced depending upon how loyalty drivers are addressed and managed, it's critical that marketers do accurate scouting regarding the strategic ball they intend to pitch to the fans.â€ť
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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