Who said baseball is dying?
Well, a lot of people have over the years.
It is an undeniable truth that the game once known as America’s past-time is falling by the wayside. Lightening-fast paced sports such as hockey, football, and basketball have captivated the collective consensus of the country. More importantly, they have garnered the attention of younger sports fans.
At baseball games the youth of America are more preoccupied with Twitter and Instagram than home runs and bunts. Whether it be shorter attention spans or another factor that has affected the level of interest in the game, baseball is trying everything imaginable to win over the future consumers of this country.
New commissioner Rob Manfred has made it a priority to try every avenue possible to grow interest in baseball. Whether it be implementing various techniques to shorten the length of games or building partnerships with popular brands in various industries, morphing the image of the game as well as the ballpark experience, is a priority.
Manfred is not the only one taking up this initiative. The Chicago White Sox—who have personally been affected by the declining interest in baseball—have taken up the task of improving the game-day experience in ways that spark intrigue in all fans, not just the youth.
One major project that occurred this offseason was installing Wi-Fi boxes throughout the stadium that allow for a faster and more efficient usage of smart phones. The Social Media Lounge has expanded and will continue to allow fans the ability to share their photos on various platforms.
But wait, isn’t that counter intuitive? Why enhance numerous distractions that take away attention from what is taking place on the field?
Baseball and the White Sox know that they cannot defeat the habit humans have of being plugged into their phones. Instead of trying to combat the enemy, the organization has decided to cater to that necessity.
Fancy technological enhancements are not the only innovative amenities that fans will be able to experience in 2015.
One similarity that all people have—whether they are a die-hard or just a casual fan—is a love for food. So, why not expand food choices that fan can stuff their faces with while enjoying the action on the field?
Peanuts and hot dogs are standard ballpark staples. Just like how sabermetrics has challenged old school evaluation, introducing new pallet-pleasing, creative nourishment is definitely not a terrible idea.
The White Sox have always been on the cutting edge of ballpark food, but the newest selection takes the cake (pun intended).
Decorative cupcakes are just the beginning when it comes to the mouthwatering selection that was introduced on Thursday. With toppings that include every candy imaginable, eating desert before a meal will not frowned upon.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of the most played out meals in the history of food. Anybody that can place cheese between two pieces of bread can make it. What can you do to make the ancient item more appealing? Throw some avocado and bacon in there.
After devouring your “gourmet grilled cheese”, fried pickle chips and garlic fries should be next on your list. Your taste-buds will thank you for engaging them in what can only be described as heaven on a plate. Along with these delectable creations will be maple-glazed bacon and hearty tacos.
When there is a problem, it does not hurt to just throw food at it.
Obviously creating a menu that is filled with high-scale, reasonably priced works of gourmet genius will not have White Sox fans rushing to grab tickets by the thousands. Even if you served Carson’s and Lou Malnati’s from the concession stands, spending three to four hours at a game does not become that much more appealing for those dead-set against it from the start.
Bill Veeck—one of the greatest marketers in sports history—believed in the concept of just getting fans in the seats. This “minor league” mentality has been a concept professional teams have been hesitant to embrace for a whole host of reasons but those who have taken on this approach have seen the wonders it can do to the organization’s bottom-line. Structuring a pitch to draw people to the game with food at the forefront is following in that way of thinking.
Who cares if people are drawn to a ballpark for reasons other than the actual game? Maybe they sit there—enjoying their pickle chips—and slowly become more in awe of the beauty that is baseball.
The White Sox realize that this could be the case. Especially when you are considered the second team in the city, being “gimmicky” would not hurt. Maybe those people barking that baseball is dying will finally begin to stop; even if it is for just a minute as they consume a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.