In its second year, the MLB Fan Cave evolved from a novel idea into a powerful marketing platform for Major League Baseball, growing its social media audience exponentially while engaging a significantly younger audience for baseball. MLB Fan Cave began in 2011 with goals of engaging younger fans via social media while increasing the profile of players and placing baseball at the nexus of pop culture. Recognizing the need to evolve and keep the concept fresh, MLB began the 2012 season with nine Cave Dwellers who watched every MLB game in a Greenwich Village storefront while chronicling their experience on social media, eliminating them throughout the season based on the quality of their contributions and social media savvy until Giants fan Ashley Chavez was crowned a winner at the World Series. Every famous visitor presented an opportunity to generate entertaining content. In 2012, MLB and its new production partner, P3 Entertainment, shifted the creative focus, emphasizing quality over quantity and a higher level of creative concepts. A greater effort was made to tailor creative specifically to players’ personalities, strengths and interests. The “MLBFanCave.com Concert Series" also grew from a small series of neighborhood concerts into a legitimate fixture in the downtown NYC music scene, with more than two dozen high profile acts performing for free in 2012, including Nas, Jason Aldean, The Script, The Fray, and more. Artists and labels view the MLB Fan Cave as a unique and beneficial opportunity to perform in front of hundreds of fans while MLB reaches a new, younger audience to expose to baseball. On social media, MLB studied its audience, learned from what worked best and honed its approach. Fans know that the MLB Fan Cave is the place to be to talk/debate about the game on and off the field as well as win prizes. In 2012 the MLB Fan Cave ran more than 250 Twitter giveaways featuring balls signed by player visitors as well as exclusive product from sponsors and other business partners. The MLB Fan Cave in 2012 QUINTUPLED its social media following to more than 1.2 million followers across Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. The unique like rate on Facebook was 47%, about 5X that of typical sports league/team pages. The average giveaway generated 1,500+ RTs and attracted nearly 400 new followers. The Fan Cave generated 4.4 billion media impressions vs. 1.5 billion in 2011, with social media impressions up 730. Finally, the most important statistic related to the MLB Fan Cave: the average fan of the MLB Fan Cave is 20 years younger than the average avid MLB fan (25 vs. 45), proving that the MLB Fan Cave is engaging younger fans and helping build a new generation of baseball fans.
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