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The Indians create a blogger press box

Apr 20, 2010, 9:16 AM EDT

Indians script.gifMaybe “press box” is the wrong term, but SportsBusiness Daily’s Eric Fisher reports on what sounds like a cool little initiative:

The Indians have created the Tribe Social Deck at Progressive Field, one
of the first major efforts under a new social media strategy being
pursued by the club. The 10-seat section in the ballpark bleachers is
being occupied each game by bloggers and other social media users and
influencers with the aim of furthering the Indians’ roots within social
media channels.

The section has a wireless hookup and a TV monitor. It likely also has beer-availability and no rule against cheering, so I’m struggling to think why I’d rather be in the real press box instead of what sounds like a nice little setup out in the bleachers (which in Cleveland are pretty good seats as far as bleachers go).

According to the article it’s an invitation-only kind of thing, which is probably the only way such a beast can be handled given that there is almost zero barrier-to-entry in becoming a “blogger and other social media user and
influencer.”  This creates a tension, of course, in that the folks who sit in this section may feel pressure to spin the team and its efforts in a positive light lest they not be invited back again.

This, however, can be handled. The onus is on the team to make it clear to everyone that they don’t expect pro-team propaganda from the chosen bloggers or tweeters or whatnot. The first time someone comes in and rips the Tribe — fairly, and with at least some sense of decorum of course — and gets invited back again such fears will be put to rest.

Basically, as long as the Indians’ press people are not seen as trying to use the limited access to control the message they will find that letting the bloggers in will work to the team’s advantage, even if the bloggers are critical. Maybe even especially so, as it will send a signal that the team is not oblivious or hyper-sensitive to criticism. Fans will tolerate tons of losing baseball because they’re fans. They won’t tolerate it, however, if their team seems more preoccupied with p.r. than winning.

So. Progressive Field is exactly 137 miles from my house. They’re letting blogger-types into the bleachers, giving them wireless internet and everything. I’m not sure how one gets on the invite list, but I’m thinking road trip.

  1. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Apr 20, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    So. Progressive Field is exactly 137 miles from my house. They’re letting blogger-types into the bleachers, giving them wireless internet and everything. I’m not sure how one gets on the invite list, but I’m thinking road trip.

    Not sure how well it’ll go over when you show up in your “I Heart Jason Heyward” shirt :)

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 20, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    Yeah, I don’t guess I’m the “influencing the Indians’ fan base” type. Especially if they search my archives and find all that stuff I’ve written about Chief Wahoo.
    I actually see more Indians games than anything else every year, though, for whatever that’s worth.

  3. YankeesfanLen - Apr 20, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    You think you have to finagle! Progressive Field is 453 miles from my house and I’m only a commentor! Let’s see, let’s see….there’s a Stadium 25.4 miles away, they haven’t become this enlightened yet, and there’s only a couple of blogs out of hundreds that are worthwhile. What to do, what to do…hey, what’s Jason’s number?

  4. Jonny5 - Apr 20, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    Man I read this and had to share it with you Craig, and i’m sure Gator will enjoy as well.

  5. mattjg - Apr 20, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    So people are afraid the Indians will give bloggers the right to sit in those seats, only to take it away if said bloggers criticize the team? Do you have a name for this Cleveland baseball club’s practice of giving something away and then later taking it back?

  6. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 20, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    Well-played. Very well-played.

  7. Jeff - Apr 20, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    Will they give the pressbox the feel of a parent’s basement? Just to make the bloggers feel more comfortable?

  8. IdahoMariner - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    excellent. first laugh out loud of the day.

  9. GimmeSomeSteel - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Come on down to the GASP, about the same distance from your home (maybe a bit less). First beer’s on me.

  10. Glenallen Hillman - Apr 20, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    Craig, important question for you. I’m about to start my 2L summer at a big honkin Cleveland firm–if I’m proactive about it, how often do you think I’ll be able to get to Progressive by 7?
    I almost bought a 20-game package, until it occurred to me that the good folks at the corner of E. 9th & Bolivar will be giving away tickets (give or take) by the time June rolls around.
    (Follow-up: if I’m infatuated with the thought of somehow reliving teenage summers of 40 or 55 games on Dad’s season tickets, do I even have a shot at making it in the law game?)

  11. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 20, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    You’ll be able to make it a lot, Glenallen. Even the most hardcore of the Cleveland firms aren’t in the habit of keeping S.A’s until 6:30PM every night, and they’re all walking distance to Progressive Field. Just do yourself three favors:
    1. either get used to wearing business clothes to the game or toting a backpack, because you don’t want to be the guy who is always seen leaving in his shorts and polo shirt to hit the ballgame;
    2. If you do have to work late, don’t make a peep about the tickets. Just bear it and go to the game late (same reason as #1); and
    3. Never blow off a firm social event or happy hour for a ballgame.
    You’ll be able to make plenty of them.

  12. Scott @ WFNY - Apr 22, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    I covered this a week ago over at WFNY, with albeit less dissemination than the SBD piece – Assuming the weather is alright and it’s a decent opponent, I fully recommend the trip to use the deck.

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