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Baseball as a Service

May 21, 2012

Anyone needing a case study on the impact of Net Promoter Score on revenue and profitability can open up the sports page in Boston. The Boston Red Sox have lost a ton of promoters; they’re facing a growing and vocal legion of detractors, and maybe most importantly, they have a swelling percentage of passive fans that just don’t care anymore.

It’s not just the losing; it’s the attitude of a few players. After last season’s 7-20 September black hole, fans learned most of the team’s starting pitching rotation was swilling beer and inhaling fried chicken during games, fueling their greasy slide out of playoff contention. Of the three protagonists in last year’s tragedy, only Jon Lester showed any contrition. John Lackey clumsily tried to defend it as no biggie, and the fried-chicken face of the controversy was, and is Josh Beckett, and he remains defiant.

Professional athletes are customer service employees. They are the product. If fans (customers) don’t like them, they will find other things to spend their disposable income on, and that’s exactly what’s happening. This past weekend, the Boston Globe ran an article on the horrible market for Sox tickets this year. One season ticket holder lamented, “There was a time when you’d look at those tickets and think these are going to be a treat for people,” he said. “But now they are more of a burden. I have difficulty giving them away, never mind selling them for a fraction of their face value. The cachet is gone.”

Saturday morning I received a Facebook message from a colleague and Sox season ticket holder:

“Interested in going to a Sox game with me? 6/7 or 6/19?”

I would like to have couple beers to catch up with this guy I used to work with, but I do not want to support this team right now. I do not want to spend a dime on them. My girlfriend already sold her first of 3 games she has for this year. We preferred to just stay down on Cape Cod and spend our money there. Her next game is a Sunday Night tilt against the Yankees in July. I hope I’m at least passive by then.

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