Most people probably have a hard time wrapping their heads around a team called the Indians mentioned in the same breath as “progressive”, the Cleveland Spiders1 are truly blazing a trail when it comes to social media and Major League Baseball in the 21st century.

The Tribe first introduced the Social Media deck last season; a “by invitation only” modified press box for bloggers and general nogoodniks. The team provided access to both wifi and beer, making it nearly the ideal fan blogger setup. Plus it was exposed to the sun in the outfield bleachers, ensuring no lily-white sportswriter dare stick his translucent nose where it doesn’t belong.

The Cleveland Franchise stepped up their game ahead of the 2011 season, laying out an entire social media strategy for embracing new fans – detailed in this snappy PR video that I, quite ironically, cannot embed here.

It is refreshing to see the team embrace both bloggers and social media as whole in a real, non-pandering way. Teams like the Clevelands need to attract as much positive attention as possible (mostly to distract from their horrible and racist nickname) to draw fans from an area with declining population numbers and high unemployment.

The team aggressively puts not only their players out there in the social media realm but the club’s manager, general manager, and team president too!

Watch the video linked above, it really lays out the entire strategy for 2011. Changes for this season include moving the social deck to a luxury suite and opening the entire enterprise up to more casual twitter and facebook fans. Excellent stuff from a team that needs all the help it can get. Now about that logo…

1 – They really, really must consider changing their name to the Spiders. History, the non-racist kind! What a concept.

Hat tip to HBT’s Craig Calcaterra

Comments (11)

  1. Great publicity for the ‘Spiders’, but didn’t the Blue Jays take a stab at being ‘social media pioneers’ last season? Perhaps tacky as they are, the Tweeting Tuesday initiative is a good idea that could use some tweaking, and no one can argue that Jordan Bastian played a large role in the appeal of Twitter and the like to us Blue Jays fans. When I signed up for Twitter, I didn’t get it at first, and had no interest in it… until I found other Blue Jays fans. So, yay for the Spiders, but I think the Blue Jays deserve some credit for at least TRYING to do something like this last season.

    A bloggers/tweeters section of the RC would be pretty sweet…

  2. If I was in charge of Blue Jays marketing/PR, my first move would be to give bloggers a 500 Level pass for the year and ensure that there was wireless capability up there.

  3. I think the Jays an okay job social media, though it’d be nice if they had a person who could spell running the Twitter account.

    I wonder if they’re doing any blogger outreach this year. If I was in charge of Blue Jays marketing/PR (this game is fun) I’d immediately put Travis Snider in a Meats Don’t Clash shirt and introduce Bautista to the Blue Jay Hunter. For starters.

    An exclusive blogger state of the franchise type event would be great too.

  4. Glad I’m not the only one who loves the Spiders nickname. Switching to the Spiders nickname is such a win-win that it’s hard to believe there isn’t more momentum for it.

  5. The Miami Dolphins treat their fans well, too. I know at least one guy who’s watched games from the sidelines and met players and cheerleaders because of his association with a fan website. I could be wrong, but I think the team even flew him to Miami for the game. It’d be nice to see some Toronto teams (especially the Jays) make efforts to connect with the fans like some other teams are.

  6. Spider racists. All of you.

  7. Hey guys…what’s racist about a red-face idiotically smiling alien named Cheif Wahoo representing an entire race and culture of mis-named peoples? Bunch of hippy bloggers!

    What’s next? Changing the Washington Redskins nickname?

    Pinkos.

  8. Have you listened to the “meat and potatoes” fans? The bloggers are much less wild and wooly.

    The Dodgers are very into the bloggers. They held their 3rd annual blogger night and the bloggers got an hour long Q & A with the GM and the president.

    But yeah, letting the bloggers sit in the 500 section of the Rog Mahal would truly be asking too much.

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