Big Lead Sports Bar

7/02/2010

10 Ways the Pirates Can Improve Their Relationship With Fans (Other Than Winning)

I put a lot of work into this topic, because it's near and dear to my heart. I consider myself a baseball fan and a Pirate fan, but I'm now a former season-ticket holder who rarely attends games at PNC Park. And surely there are others in my situation.

What is the reason for this? Can it change? Do the Pirates care what a fan like me thinks? These are all issues I'll tackle in today's article for The Fan, 10 Ways the Pirates Can Improve Their Relationship With Fans (Other Than Winning). Out of all the pieces I've written for The Fan, I think I enjoyed this one the most. It's not just the usual Pirate-bashing, it's actually an attempt at being productive and giving some ideas for change.

For the on-air discussion, I'll be chatting with the ABC Morning Crew of Alexander, Burton and Colony at 7:40 a.m. on Friday morning.

And if you haven't yet heard, there's a budding musician on the show (I believe he would be the "C" in ABC) who's released a new tune on Brad Lincoln that you've got to check out.




10 comments:

The Abiding Dude said...

You mention the Pirates should change their logo...but didn't they already do this back in 97'? I may have missed the point all together though.

Here is hoping that everyone has a great 4th of July Weekend. Stay safe andplease take a moment to reflect on this great country of ours. We may complain a ton about what sucks here, but it is a great country to live in.

Brad said...

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/teamrankings

The pirates ownership is ranked 119 out of 122 teams in pro sports while the pens are ranked 3rd.

I really hope Nutting includes this stat in his next attempt to bash the Penquins organization on a site he owns.

Steve said...

I am in favor of the free tickets for the ticket purchaser if they lose that game idea. Whoever though of that is genius and I can't see why any club that has a problem filling seats doesn't do it. If not a free ticket, at least a free up grade on the next one.

What's a ticket $9 bucks min.? The revenue generated just by getting someone to the Park whether it be parking, or concession/merchandise sales is probably at least 3 times that. Plus, filling the stands couldn't hurt the teams performance and the token sign of the team saying they feel the fans deserve better could only help the Pirates image as cheap, greedy, uncaring jerks.

Nope, they'd rather lose tens of millions of dollars a season with empty seats, kinda reminds me of MacDonalds throwing out food at the end of the day instead of giving it to homeless or food shelters.

Scott said...

Great list. The only thing I’m not sold on is lowering ticket prices. Yes, that makes sense, but I don’t think price impacts whether the average Pittsburgher attends a Pirates game. They have been doing a ton of discounts and buy one-get one offers this season and attendance really isn’t up at all.

I think the giveaways could improve too. They finally scaled back the bobbleheads. I’d like to see smarter giveaways – and not one every game. I lived in Cincinnati for the past three years (ugh) and the Reds had great giveaways. For example, on Father’s Day they gave away Reds ties that actually looked really nice.

One idea I had is for the Pirates to replace the gold-shirt sideshow announcer guy with some unbelievably hot girl. Obviously, she has to be good, but the Pirates should be out scouting the local communications programs at local colleges for the Pittsburgh version of Erin Andrews. Young guys will want to attend just to see her in the stands.

Koz said...

These were all decent points, but basically, the organization has to stop being stupid (not likely to happen).

I would love to see a new logo. The current one sucks. I don't know why they don't just use the alternate logo:

http://www.sportslogos.net/images/logos/54/71/full/kdgtwkrrzolrlagbhs6ghyaqi.gif

Yeah it's basically just the baseball version of the TB Buccaneers, but it's a lot cooler. Plus the skull and crossbones usually signifies poison or danger, which is what you have headed your way if you follow this team.

I also enjoy the 70s/80s era logo.

Nate said...

The Pirates logos have always been kinda corny. I like the P, but the actual buccaneer logos...eh, not a fan of any of them.

I agree that the free seats if the team loses is a great idea. Even if you buy the rebuilding plan, nobody wants to watch a losing team, and nobody who buys the rebuilding plan is going to want to spend money on the team on a consistent basis until they're good.

The way to make up for that is to do what the Penguins did when they were losing and sell tickets on the cheap (which, in their defense, the Pirates already do. The AAA Indians cheap seats are a few dollars more than the Pirates cheap seats.), give discounts to groups like students, hold lots of promotions (check), and occasionally give away some free seats. Plus, for as bad as they've been over the past 17 years, the team actually has a winning record in home games since PNC Park opened, so the odds are in their favor.

Jared said...

Who cares about whatever bs the Pirates come up with to distract the "fans". Winning is all that matters.

Scott said...

Jared, is that how you feel about when the Penguins did stuff like have players deliver season tickets or offer college students tickets for $15?

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

I do think the focus needs to change from the past to the future. Also, the slogans have been awful over the years.

I think simplifying the slogans and relating to the people to whom you are trying to sell the tickets is a must. A whole generation of fans can't remember the last winning seasons and 2 generations can't recall the last World Series win.

I am not saying ignore the tradition, but the Pirates name has become synonymous with losing baseball whether the Kool-Aid drinkers like it or not.

I would try to make a few little changes at the park, like firing a cannon for every home run and a ceremonial raising of the jolly roger after every victory. Maybe even try some corny slogan like "find your inner Pirate". Although winning is most important, building the fans trust is right there and uniting the fan base can't hurt..... especially when it is so divided as we speak.

John said...

To be honest, I am not a big fan of anything on the list. My wish would be a sincere attempt at excellence. I honestly believe that the team isn't really that committed to winning. Drafting the prospects that say "I am cheap". Dumping any player with a high salary, regardless of whether he is young, or how many years he has left on his contract. Making random trades to see if anything sticks. It is just a sorry run organization.