The weather is getting colder and the leaves are changing, which can only mean one thing: playoff baseball. Oh, and fall. I guess it can mean two things.
Getting to attend the first ever Texas Rangers playoff game at Globe Life Field was a total bucket list moment. As locked in as I was on the game, my eyes couldn’t help but wander and marvel at all of the non-baseball entertainment going on in the stadium around me.
If you don’t know, baseball seasons are quite long – like 162 games long. So keeping fans invested and willing to spend money on a game seven months into the season is impressive, even if it is the playoffs.
Now, this game stopped being interesting after the Rangers were up 6-0 in the second inning, but despite it being a runaway, the crowd remained intact, rowdy, and on their feet the ENTIRE game. The energy and atmosphere was unlike anything you’d likely experience if it were a regular season game.
This got me thinking – how do the Rangers keep the postseason engagement so high? Here are a few things I noticed:
Upon walking into the stadium, every fan (whether you were wearing Rangers gear or not) was offered a bright red “Texas” rally towel. Throughout the game fans were encouraged to lasso their towels and cheer during big moments. A small thing like a free towel makes spectators feel like they are part of the game. Logically, we know waving the towels around won’t be the difference between a win or loss, but in the moment, we believe in the magic. Plus I’ll admit, besides getting whacked in the face a few times, it was quite the scene.
A playoff slogan.
To help fans go all-in for the playoffs, the Rangers created a postseason slogan people could rally behind. “Go and take it” is being used EVERYWHERE – signage, social media, rally towels, promotions, etc. Establishing a slogan creates a sense of exclusivity for fans; they are part of something special since a playoff movement isn’t guaranteed every season. And of course, fans can further their support by owning some limited edition playoff merchandise sold by the team.
It’s difficult to remember what happens every play of a nine inning game, but I will never forget when the Rangers hit a homerun in the second inning. I nearly had a heart attack when a firework went off from behind the scoreboard, inside a closed stadium. Paired with strobe lights going off as well, it felt like a rave and not a sporting event. Home run celebrations have the potential to be iconic moments in the history of a team or player. They allow fans to share in the success, fostering a sense of connection and camaraderie. These added touches not only make a moment memorable, but provide entertainment and can become talking points amongst fans, adding an additional layer of engagement to the experience.
Food, food, and more food.
From greasy ballpark food to healthy alternatives, the options were truly endless (an indecisive person’s worst nightmare). They even had playoff-only menu items that have been added specifically for post season games, including a Chicken Parm Dawwg – because who doesn’t desire chicken parm on a hot dog? Teams are even going so far as to incorporate their playoff mottos into food items, like the Diamondback’s Embrace the Chaos Apple Pie Chimichanga. Even if you are a foodie who doesn’t like sports, you can find something to enjoy at the game.
Creating a memorable experience for your audience is crucial in building a strong connection and leaving a lasting impression. When fans (or users) have an unforgettable experience, they become deeply invested in the product or service you’re selling and ultimately crave more.
With that being said, if you are ever able to attend a playoff game (for any sport), I highly encourage you to take advantage of it. While you’re there, take note of the different ways that the team is keeping fans involved and engaged off the field. You’re bound to be impressed.