What Does Leadership Excellence Mean Today?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Kevin Mather

Kevin Mather

Seattle Mariners


At the July CEOtoCEO Breakfast in Seattle, Washington at the Washington Athletic Club, Kevin Mather, President of the Seattle Mariners, provided an excellent overview of the business of baseball. Kevin asked the CEOs for ideas on how baseball could attract and retain more young people to their game? As attracting and retaining youth is a relevant challenge to many CEOs, Kevin's question sparked a lively brain storming session at the breakfast. In small groups, participating CEOs generated the following ideas on how the Mariners could attract and retain young people.

In A Perfect World:

WIN! Stop trading away prospects

Batting cages at the fields:A: Batting cages at the fields
B: Fans can play during games
C: Offer a high school batting derby (with possible mobile unit)

Weekend Brunch days:
Open the park early and allow fans to purchase mimosas, bloody marys and other brunch related foods/drinks
Menu Options:

Offer Vegan food choices on some of the ball park menu

Outreach to Communities:
Encourage participation in little league:
Engage individuals from youth to present
Ride Share Partnerships:
A: Could also run promotions to and from the games
B: Increases capacity to get to/from the games without having to worry about finding and paying for parking
Education of Immigrant Population:
Help immigrant populations understand the game in order to appreciate it
Take a Fan to Work Day:

Offer an essay competition for elementary/middle school kids to participate in. They can write about why they love the sport, who their favorite player is, etc. and when a winner is chosen, they can go to the field early and get a tour/meet players/watch batting practice/etc.

Social Media, Apps, and Interactive Media:
Social Media:
A: Engagement with Millennials - Get the center field fans involved so that they pay attention throughout the game
Interactive Apps:
A: Offer an app that allows children to participate in before/during/after games
B: Offer an app that could be made up of short videos and games to help new fans understand how the game is played and scored
Scorekeeping Educational Sessions:
A: Make a video to teach fans how to keep score via the big screen before the game starts
B: Offer fans a free score keeping card/program for the game
Postable Moments:
A: Increase or switch-up the types of "postable moments" that fans can interactively participate in during games

B: Being on the BIG screen is exciting!

Adjusting weekday game times:
It is difficult for younger generations to attend games that don't begin until 7:10PM
Appeal to the intellectual qualities of the game:
A: Create a hybrid game (ie. indoor soccer) that forces more interaction with the game and it's components
B: Kids will become more engaged with the increase in access to the hybrid activity
Valet for Families:

Being able to valet would make getting to/from the games much easier for parents with young children. Especially those who have children who use car seats.

Marketing Promotions:
A: More promotion of special events/nights (ie. Sriracha Night)

B: Offer more events geared toward Millennials (ie. Two-for-one Night: buy two tickets for the price of one, Date Night: offer a special menu/drinks)

Millennials as Employees:
A: Look at increasing the millennial work force at Safeco Field

B: Highlight: Flexible schedules, technology but also that there is an expectation that work will get completed

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