Based on my experience, there is an undercurrent of sports fans in this magnificent city that want to go to a Calgary Vipers game – only they may not know it yet.
I think my little blog here has one fan more devoted to reading my ramblings than the person who I am married to: Sas – I’m going to assume you’re the one Google Reader subscriber I have. Sas is a good example of one kind of prospective Vipers fan that I’m typing about. She likes the outdoors, she likes sitting in the sun, and she likes being able to bring her daughter to events that don’t cost her a small fortune. She can’t wait to go to more Vipers games in 2009.
There’s another kind of prospective baseball fan in Calgary, and bear with me as I use another friend as an example. Ferg’s a friend who I, as long as I’ve known him, hasn’t ever shown any interest in baseball. In fact, he’s often the first to call me to task when I get to talking about baseball too much. He’s a big sports fan, though, and real outdoorsman. He, like Sas, also became a Vipers fan last season, but in a different way. Ferg, as a sports fan in general, started picking up the finer details and rooting for specific players. Sure, he may call more errors than the scorekeeper does (he calls an error or two… or five… per inning), but that’s part of the beauty of being a fan.
I’ve also talked with a lot of folks in the city who bill themselves as baseball fans. They follow MLB and are bitter about the departure of the Calgary Cannons of AAA. Here’s an exerpt of a recent conversation I had:
“I wish I lived near a major league city”
“Well, it may not be major league, but we do have a pro ball team in this city. Ever heard of the Golden League?”
“Ha. Yeah right. Nice try.”
I think there’s a large untapped market of future Vipers fans out there who don’t even know they like baseball yet. They like the outdoors, they like soaking up sunbeams (and an accompanying cold beer), and they like their sporting events to be reasonably priced. The Vipers offer this, and though the entertaining brand of competative baseball they play may be what brings new fans back to the park, but it might not be what brings them to the hallowed grounds of Foothills Stadium for the first time.
I’m no marketing guy, this is just based on my experience. When it comes to trying to grow the Vipers fan base, however, I think the Vipers might be reaching out to the wrong market.
I’ve only talked about two specific new Vipers fans in this post, but I know a lot of people like them.
The Vipers have been around long enough now that the diehard baseball fans know where the games are, and have already decided if they’re going or not. The well from which to draw (and even create) new fans, I believe, still has yet to be tapped.