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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

MLB Network's #FaceOfMLB

Finalist in Twitter Campaign

Entered in Sports


Could inaugural winner Joey Votto repeat? Would New York Yankees living legend Derek Jeter take the crown for his last season? Or would a dark horse surprise everyone? For the second year, to keep baseball top of mind with fans in the thick of the offseason, MLB Network's morning show Hot Stove launched a fully integrated Twitter competition to discover which player is the #FaceOfMLB. No talking heads or research packets involved, just a bracket-style tournament pitting 30 baseball players head-to-head, with all the power given to fans to choose the winner. The highly competitive contest saw over 2.5 million votes cast throughout its entirety, plus four million Twitter mentions of #FaceOfMLB and increased viewership for the episode of Hot Stove that unveiled the new champion.

Strategy and Execution

Building off of the success of the first #FaceOfMLB competition in the 2012-2013 offseason, MLB Network again endeavored to keep baseball in the minds of the public throughout the winter by enlisting fans to vote for the #FaceOfMLB on Twitter. To start, fans voted for the "face" of each franchise, and MLB Network then utilized the popularity of bracket-style tournaments to capture fans' and teams' thirsts for competition by placing each #FaceOfFranchise into the #FaceofMLB bracket, with seeds determined by teams' 2013 finish.

MLB Network's morning show Hot Stove served as the on-air home for #FaceOfMLB. Each day, the winners and upcoming matchups were revealed, while baseball personalities joined the show to drum up support for candidates. MLB Network worked closely with MLB and all 30 clubs in promoting #FaceOfMLB to increase the conversation about the players and each team. Clubs, players, other pro sports teams and celebrity fans all took to Twitter to push voting with giveaways, memes, retweets and fan follows.

The competition concluded with superstar third baseman David Wright of the New York Mets beating out cult hero and infielder Eric Sogard of the Oakland Athletics in the finals, which saw over a half-million votes cast. During the final round, #FaceOfMLB trended for seven consecutive hours, andthe final episode of Hot Stove, which unveiled Wright as the winner of the competition, generated a 59% viewership increase for the show over its offseason average.

While Wright won the competition, Eric Sogard was the breakout star during the offseason. Sogard received over 790,000 votes throughout the whole campaign and defeated the likes of Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. Known for wearing glasses on the field, #NerdPower became a nationally trending hashtag that accompanied Sogard's promotion to become the #FaceOfMLB. Media profiled Sogard and the #FaceOfMLB competition several times, including, San Francisco Chronicle, Arizona Republic and Social News Daily, who asked, "Could Eric Sogard be the next Tim Tebow?"

The second #FaceOfMLB proved to be an overwhelming success, with over 2.5 million votes cast during the #FaceOfMLB bracket competition, a 55% increase over the first year. #FaceOfMLB was also mentioned over 4 million times on Twitter throughout the December-to-February campaign. During the course of the competition, @MLBNetwork also saw a 9% increase in Twitter followers. The growth culminated in the account reaching a half-million followers on the final night of #FaceOfMLB. In addition to accomplishing its goal of keeping baseball on the forefront of sports fans' mind during the offseason, the #FaceOfMLB lingered into the regular season with both the New York Mets and Oakland Athletics holding promotional days at their ballparks that honored finalists David Wright and Eric Sogard.


Video for MLB Network's #FaceOfMLB

Entrant Company / Organization Name

MLB Network