Reaching new markets to create the next generation of fans

Major League Baseball

Evolving the original American sport

Major League baseball is the iconic American sport. With a heritage of legendary players, ballparks and moments that for diehard fans, run as deep as the American dream itself. But for a new generation of sports viewers and fans, the game can be hard to understand and difficult to consume. This, coupled with challenges around participation and consumption of games and the emergence of esports, makes the market increasingly competitive.

Our teams worked with MLB experts to develop new formats and new ways to enjoy the game – with a goal of creating a next generation of baseball fans and secure the future of the sport outside of its home base.

Drum Experience Awards 2019 - New Event of the Year & Sports Experience of the Year Campaign Experience Awards 2020 - Outdoor Experience & Outstanding Creative Idea & Debut Event


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The idea

Building an investment and sponsorship case

With our team of category experts, ethnographers, brand strategists, experience designers and creative technologists we built an investment and sponsorship case based on insight and creative concepts. The process started with original research to develop a clear picture of the ambitions and motivations of these next-generation fans, as well as discovering where the value was for MLB in the region.

We then worked with the team to develop a range of propositions and concepts for how to reach and engage these fans. We used experiments to test and iterate them, before building out a partnership strategy for broadcasters and sponsors who had authentic relationships with the desired MLB audience.

Test and learn experiments

In the 2017 season, we staged MLB Battlegrounds, a home run derby in London’s Hyde Park. This all-new sporting format brought together the best moments of baseball in an accessible format for new fans and was backed by crossover stars from the world of professional cricket. We followed it up in 2019 with London Yards, a fan festival in a city centre location that used baseball’s timeless rivalries to inspire a new generation of curious sports fans, challenging the category norms for the gameday experience.

London Yards was a perfect distillation of everything we are trying to make MLB stand for. It’s not easy moving a brand as entrenched as ours is into new territory, but Imagination has done so with grace and skill.

Charlie Hill

VP International Strategy, MLB

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