The Missing Social Platform from MLB’s Home Run Derby

Guest Post by Adam Navarrete

Last night’s Home Run Derby was an action-packed event that featured new faces and a new bracketed format. But what was missing from the festivities was usage of one of the newest social media platforms. To be fair, it wasn’t until after the Home Run Derby was over that it dawned on me:

Of the seven teams represented (Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, Dodgers, Orioles, Rangers, & Reds), not one team used Periscope to broadcast a single at-bat from their Home Run Derby contestant, or any other content for that matter.

Taking a closer look, all seven teams (as well as Major League Baseball) have a Periscope account. And collectively, they have 128,805 followers standing by for what could have been unique access to the #HRDerby. Instead, out of the seven teams and the MLB:

    – Eight hadn’t updated their bios from what was pulled in from Twitter
    – Five hadn’t uploaded a profile pictures
    – Four hadn’t streamed for the first time
    – And all eight hadn’t streamed within 24 hours of the Home Run Derby




Up to this point in the season, both fans and teams have been streaming everything from games to press conferences to batting practices. So missing the opportunity to share behind-the-scenes content during the Home Run Derby seemed strange. And it wasn’t due to lack of interest.

A quick search on Twitter revealed fans were using Periscope to share the moment, with one of the better ones being Todd Frazier’s final at-bat that was shared from on the field by Juan Pablo Galavis, a former professional soccer and The Bachelor contestant.




The five and a half minute clip shows Juan Pablo sitting on the American League’s side of the field, talking to All-Stars and tracking Frazier’s home runs. And it is a perpetual heart-explosion the entire time while viewers commented things like: I’m loving this, that’s amazing and thanks for doing this!

Eight hours remain in the 24-hours time limit since Juan Pablo’s Periscope went live, and so far, it has had more than 6,887 replay views, 68 live views and generated 17,872 hearts. There’s no doubt the interest in the Home Run Derby was there. According to Topsy, there were over 243,000 #HRDerby tweets last night.




Of course, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Vine were all utilized by teams during the evening, which makes Periscope’s absence even more conspicuous. Here are several unique scenarios that come to mind where teams could have used Periscope:

    – Inside the batting cage tunnels
    – On the sidelines with other players and their families
    – Post-round interviews with the contestant
    – Allowing fans to ask questions to the players
    – Players answering questions and saying “thank you” to fans
    – Interviewing the Home Run Derby winner

Social media is no longer perceived as a megaphone. It’s a means of engaging, conversing and rewarding fans. And, Periscope could have been an opportunity for teams to engage and reward fans through a unique point of view.

It would be interesting to know if the lack of Periscope usage during the Home Run Derby was a conscience decision to not use this new platform by individual teams and/or Major League Baseball. I’ll be paying closer attention to tonight’s All-Star Game to see if teams use Periscope or not. One thing is for sure though: Whatever reasons teams had for not using Periscope, it’s important for all of us in the industry to embrace – not fear – new technology that would enable us to provide fans with new and exciting access to their favorite players and teams.



This is a guest post by Adam Navarrete, co-founder & CMO at IdealSeat. Adam’s playing fields are digital media and sports marketing. Connect with him on Twitter at @AdamNavarrete.

Design Inspiration from the #MLBDraft

Big moments, like the MLB Draft, are always a great opportunity to get new design inspiration.  So for a spark of creative brilliance, here are some of the MLB teams and athletics departments graphics from MLB Draft.






Did I miss any good graphics? If so, please sure to give the team a shout below!

Thanks for reading. 

How the MLB & Teams Generated Excitement for #OpeningDay

Opening Day. It’s a holiday for baseball fans: One that brings excitement, anticipation and the hope of spring and warmer weather. It’s also a day to celebrate in social media + sports as 30 MLB teams and the league turn out great social/digital content.

Days like Opening Day– the first game of the season, a rival matchup, a championship game– deserve a little more TLC. Why? They deserve more thought because emotions are high. And when emotions are high, it’s an opportunity to connect with fans. Fans are more likely to share content when it tugs at their emotions. The reach from retweets, shares, etc. will draw more fans in. Yes, it’s important to take the time to think through a robust strategy on how to approach these big moments.

A quick glance through the Opening Day content and it was easy to see that the MLB and teams spent time planning socially. Here’s a look at some of the ways the teams and league generated excitement:


No. 1- Launch of THIS.

MLB launched a creative campaign called “This is Baseball”. Focused on the word THIS, it’s an ode to the great things in baseball that need no explanation (exactly how THIS is used in social media). The campaign’s strengths lie in its simplicity and ability to integrate across teams. THIS campaign is relatable to every fan, no matter which team they root for.

“This is Baseball” will run all baseball season, from TV sports to real-time social content. If the start of it is any sign, THIS will be a home run hit. The social content has been stellar so far. It taps into the emotion of the sport/teams and drums up the appropriate excitement. Here’s a look at some of the posts:

Expect more of #THIS.

A post shared by Los Angeles Dodgers (@dodgers) on


Because we're all Phanatics. #THIS

A post shared by phillies (@phillies) on


Lesson: Leading up to a big event or game, go beyond a countdown and highlight why people get excited about it. Tapping into emotion will make the content more impactful.


No. 2- Countdowns.

Countdowns are an easy and simple way to drum up excitement leading up to a big event. And of course, plenty of MLB teams counted down the days until the first pitch. Here’s a look at some of the countdown themes from various teams:


We're Javy Lopez days away from baseball in Atlanta! #BravesAreBack

A post shared by Atlanta Braves (@braves) on


One more sleep! #ComeTogether

A post shared by Toronto Blue Jays (@bluejays) on


Hey @robinsoncano, how many days until #OpeningDay?

A post shared by Seattle Mariners (@mariners) on


Instead of graphics, the Kansas City Royals did countdown videos. Clever!


PLAY BALL! Just 6 more days until the #Royals Home Opener. #ForeverRoyal

A post shared by Kansas City Royals (@kcroyals) on

Lesson: Countdowns can be impactful, but don’t start them out too early or they get redundant. It’s often best to highlight “big dates out”—like 100, 50 and 25—and then countdown 10 to seven days out. In addition, focus on the copy and mix it up. While the days out might be predictable, the words don’t have to be.


No. 3- Celebration GIFS/Vines.

MLB teams took advantage of the GIF trend to showcase their feelings about Opening Day. The content was a fun avenue to showcase excitement in a light-hearted way and resonate with fans. Below are a few examples of the Opening Day celebration GIFs:

Lesson: GIFS are a great opportunity to showcase your team’s humor and personality. Additionally, they stand out more on Twitter and aren’t as intensive to create as video content. The biggest lesson here is that you don’t have to rely on pop culture GIFS from; take old video footage and splice and dice it for some on-brand GIF fun!


No. 4- Snapchat geofilers

The start of the season is always a great time to bring out something new. MLB teams brought out Snapchat geofilters for Opening Day (see a list of the teams on Snapchat here). Geofilters are a smart and easy way to engage fans and enlist ambassadors by helping them spread brand love for your team. The creativity behind some of the filters were outstanding, and several teams did a good job promoting them across platforms. Here’s a look at some of the filters:

Lesson: Geofilters are a fun and easy way to engage fans. And, some of the creativity of the overlays (like from the Phillies and Diamondbacks) makes the feature even more powerful. The key with this is to promote, promote, promote so fans know that they are available.


No. 5- Simple statements.

It’s easy to overthink when you write. In reality though, simple is often best. Many teams tapped into the emotion of Opening Day with strong images and short and simple copy. As you’ll see below, the combination makes a great statement:

Today. #OpeningDay

A post shared by phillies (@phillies) on


Lesson: Short and sweet is often best, so don’t be afraid to cut and edit. As Strunk and White would say, “omit needless words”. In this fast-paced world, even 140 characters is often too long.


No. 6- Player’s voice.

The Diamondbacks found content from voices on their own roster, turning tweets and quotes into graphics. This is a great way to showcase the players’ excitement for Opening Day:

Lesson: There are so many ways to create content. Look around you. Figure out how you can leverage the tweets, photos and pieces of content that are generated from other sources and turn them into your own.


No. 7- Excuse notes.

The Brewers released Opening Day excuse notes for fans that were written by players. While other teams and leagues have done excuse notes before, the use of different players and excuse notes based on occupation is stellar. View all the notes here.

Lesson: Sometimes the best ideas are evolved ideas. If you see something you like from a brand, team, league, etc., think about how you make it work for your fans and goals. There is always a way to take an idea up a notch and make it your own.


No. 8- #FirstPitch15.

The MLB created a series of #FirstPitch15 graphics with a unique phrase for each team. The idea was that everyone starts out undefeated. The hashtag use is a great way to drum up excitement for Opening Day, and the graphics were sharp:

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 8.48.39 AM

Lesson: When planning for a big event/game like Opening Day, try to find a unique rallying point like #FirstPitch15. Too often teams fall back on generic name hashtags instead of picking something unique to rally and excite fans. A strong hashtag campaign, paired with great graphics and content, can really get fans engaged.


No. 9- Scavenger hunt.

The Indians hosted a scavenger hunt around the city, hiding bags for fans to find with clues tweeted out. This is a great example of bridging the online world with the offline world:

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 10.12.09 AM

Lesson: Bridging the gap between social and the physical world can make for a fun promotion. If you are looking for new ways to engage your fans, consider a contest/activation that involves both social and in-person engagement. The combination helps develop a stronger relationship with fans, spreads the word online and rewards ambassadors! A win, win, win.


As the Opening Day social media initiatives show, planning helps make a splash. You can’t always plan, but when you can, take advantage of it like the MLB and teams did.




What were your favorite social moments from Opening Day? Share them below!


Thanks for reading!