The newly-approved sale of the Miami Marlins has set off a surge of excitement about the team’s future.
It’s no wonder why. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and his front office had a contentious relationship with the Miami community – ridiculing fans, parting ways with beloved players, and misleading the public about the club’s financials on the way to securing a taxpayer-funded stadium.
Needless to say, the Marlins are ready for a fresh start. The arrival of a new ownership team is a chance to change the way Miami perceives the club and win back a passionate fan base.
But resetting the narrative is only possible if the incoming management team is prepared to do things differently. Here are four tips for rebuilding the Marlins brand:
- Prioritize Transparency: The new owners have an opportunity to project transparency and earn the public’s trust right out of the gate. Swift actions will carry more weight than words, so they should begin by sending a message of change by parting ways with club president David Samson, who has been the public face of the organization for years, and his front office team.
- Community Partnerships: The Marlins must get to work earning the respect of fans by engaging the community in a meaningful, organic way. The club should forge partnerships with nonprofits that are tackling Miami’s most pressing challenges – from affordable housing and job training, to youth violence and the need for more green space.
- Local Investments: Another visible sign of progress would be making investments in Little Havana. By subsidizing the cost of retail leases, bringing in pop-up stores and restaurants, introducing free programming and fixing-up commercial properties, the Marlins can create opportunities for local businesses and usher in a vibrant (long-awaited) ballpark district in one of the country’s most culturally-rich neighborhoods.
- Winning: Above all else, the Marlins have a baseball team to run and no amount of community outreach or investment can match the goodwill derived from fielding a winning product. Filling seats will require ownership to make baseball moves that get fans excited about the team’s long-term future. In the end, what’s good for baseball is good for the brand – and the business.
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Underpinning these tactics must be a wholesale shift in how the Marlins tell their story. The team has made a habit of playing defense when communicating with the public; changing the way the franchise is perceived will require getting proactive with a coherent message.
A thoughtful, aggressive campaign combining media relations, marketing, digital media and compelling content will give the Marlins’ new ownership a platform for connecting with key audiences and driving the conversation surrounding baseball in Miami.
Owning a Major League Baseball team in one of the nation’s most dynamic, fastest-growing cities is a privilege. Seizing that opportunity will mean projecting change, becoming entrenched in the local community, and making an unmistakable commitment to winning. Only then will the Marlins win back local fans.