As you may or may not be aware, along with Dave Shaw, Jack Brown and Hannah Tomlinson (@CleatsAndPinot), we arrange and host London baseball watch events under the @MLBUKCommunity umbrella, having done so for the past 2 years.
Our reason for holding these events is borne out of a heartfelt desire to expand, develop and cultivate baseball interest in the UK far above and beyond where it presently stands. Ahead of the London Series – but also in general – we see these live watch events, both in London and their equivalents held elsewhere in Britain, as part of a British Baseball Fan Movement – #MLBMeetupsUK.
Recently on Twitter I set out my viewpoint on, ethos behind and long-term aspirations for the #MLBMeetupsUK movement. Whilst I won’t labour these points again here, please do take the time to have a quick scroll through this if you’re not familiar with our events:
Ok, if I can kindly have your attention the next few minutes please, I’m going to write a few words putting my thoughts out there on the vision I have for #MLBMeetupsUK as a British baseball fan movement. I truly hope this is a viewpoint many of you will agree with.
— Astros Fans UK (@AstrosFansUK) March 18, 2019
Right, opening preamble out the way let’s get to the meat of why I’m writing this: last year’s events in London began by hitting 60-70 attendees in both April and May, this year’s so far have attracted a much more modest 20-30 fans – we want to know why is this the case?
Ahead of the London Series as an obvious focal point in late June, we were expecting attendance numbers to greatly build on those from last year. It hasn’t happened. It’s actually gone the other way and, naturally, we’re a little concerned!
I heard one view saying that numbers were down as we held a recent event on Easter Sunday but as our highest turnout ever was on Easter Sunday last year, I would pretty strongly disagree on this affecting our 2019 numbers.
Conversely, each event this year seems to have a good number of first-time attendees. Of these newbies to our events, I would go as far as saying that – to a man/woman – they have genuinely loved the experience.
With this in mind, ahead of our events next month to coincide with the London Series we need to work out where we are and what people want.
Taking stock, we ask YOU what you like about our events and, crucially, what factors rank most/least important in terms of your deciding whether or not to take the plunge and attend them:
A. What day events are held (e.g always Saturday or Sunday).
B. Whether a giveaway/discount is on offer for attendees.
C. If a special guest attends.
D. What games are being shown.
E. Whether your team’s game is being shown.
F. Promotional media advertising events needs to be more widespread.
G. Events taking place on a regular date every month (e.g. every last Sunday of the month etc.).
H. 2 free drinks per attendee being on offer.
I. Location of venue being nearby to you.
J. Additional featured activities being on offer (e.g. MLB The Show on PS4, Topps baseball cards for attendees)
K. Confirmation of transport not being affected in advance (e.g. engineering works)
L. Live podcast by a UK baseball community account (e.g. Bat Flips & Nerds, Absolute Bunts)
M. A good venue with decent food & drink
If you can please rank the above factors from most important through to least important this will really help us understand where we’re going right and what we can do better, not only for the London Series but also moving forward beyond it.
I think this is a reasonably exhaustive spectrum of factors but if I’ve missed something out then please get at me!
We are fully 100% committed to what we do and we love uniting the UK MLB fanbase as best we can. We see the London Series as a unique and incredible opportunity for us to help spread the good word of baseball far and wide across the UK – but we badly need to get as many people through the door as possible to keep building this dream.
As always, I’ll shortly be putting together the graphical promotional pieces for our London Series events and also those being held concurrently in Nottingham by @Emidsmlbmeetups and in Leeds by @SandyDShipley01 – so watch out for these on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Please spread the word far and wide about #MLBMeetupsUK – new and old fans alike are welcome! (Our only restriction at Belushi’s in London Bridge where we hold our events is they have an over-18 only policy as an alcohol-selling venue.)
Really looking forward to hearing from people on all this. We want to help make the London Series a Festival Of Baseball for as many people as possible – but we can’t do this without YOU.