Three Lessons from the Mariners Home Opener

It was a sold out crowd at Safeco Field last night for the Mariners 2014 home opener. The rain poured, the Hilliard’s beer flowed and the Mariners won 5-3 against the Angels. I love a night at the ballpark – from the fanfare to the on-field action. Last night, those of us in the stands were treated to outstanding fanfare and great baseball. The Mariners pulled out all the stops, and brands could learn from it (yes, I did just say brands can learn a lesson from an organization that finished last season 71-91. Let me finish.).

All Customers are Not Created Equally. Treat Them as Such. You know that term, “fair weather fan?” Well, you won’t find any at Safeco Field. This has been a tough road for #truetotheblue Mariners fans. Last night, the organization found a way to show its gratitude to longtime season ticket holders who have continued to hold on to hope. They could have simply sent these folks a special thank you letter from the front office, or a fancy seat cushion. Instead, they created a priceless experience that most of us will never have. These core customers had a special starring role in the on-field ceremonies. A phalanx of season ticket holders lined up in center field, dressed in Mariners blue, to help introduce the 2014 team amidst the cheering crowds and booming fireworks.

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Use Your Social Channels To Make The Experience Bigger than Any Sold-out Crowd. With every event, there is a clear opportunity to interact with those on site. For the Mariners, every sold out game offers the chance to make an impression on 47,000 people. But social channels and the behavior of social sharing allows all of these fans to share their game experience with a network of friends and family anywhere.

Throughout the game, the M’s continued to give folks the opportunity to take out their phones and share the fun. Just one example was the #SafecoSelfie. Between innings, fans snapping selfies where shown on the big screen.

You Are Judged by The Company You Keep. The Mariners hosted a pre-game celebration for the Seahawks, and Russell Wilson threw the first pitch to Felix Hernandez. MVP Malcom Smith made a surprise visit to one lucky fan in his upper deck seats. By including the Seahawks in the M’s home opener, every fan in the ballpark got a taste of victory regardless of the night’s final score.

The crowd roared with approval to see another Seattle sports team with its strong culture of winning. Hopeful fans drew comparisons between the two teams. I spotted a sign in the crowd with Wilson’s mantra, “Why Not Us?” And the media coverage followed

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I remain cautiously optimistic about the M’s this season, but l hope the home opener was a sign of good things to come.

Were you part of the fun at Safeco last night? Tweet your #SafecoSelfie to @amricard.