Originally published January 8th, 2013
I love the MLB Network. Their daily coverage and analysis is fantastic, and as a network, it’s nearly flawless. If there’s one gap in their line-up, it’s Original Programming. Channels like the Food Network, TLC, and Discovery are making a HUGE ratings dent with reality based programming. Believe me, the last thing that the MLB Network needs is Jersey Shore, but there is a wide opening for compelling reality based programming. Some things to consider:
- The Ballparks: Major League Baseball ballparks are like a city’s fingerprint. Every park is different. They have their own sites, and looks, and feels. Michelle Beadle hosted the show ‘Cathedrals Of The Game’ 9 years ago, and it was great! But, it’s also outdated. There are entire networks dedicated to travel, so why aren’t there shows dedicated to baseball travel on the MLB Network? There are websites like www.ballparkchasers.com and magazines like Stadium Journey (www.stadiumjourney.com), that are devoted to traveling to ballparks across the country!
- The Food: How many cooking shows are there on TV? What about Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives? Man Vs Food? 30 Major League parks, 30 cities, and all with their own distinct flavor. Every team has their own chef, every city has their own specialties, and they would all make a great show!
- The Players: The Franchise programming has been great! Could it be capsulized to 30 minute episodes by team? What about retired players? Could they develop day-in-the-life programming? Hall Of Famers? Joes vs Jocks? There are a lot of things they could do with team and player programming to enhance offseason viewing.
- The History: Where are the “Pawn Stars”, “American Pickers”, or “Antique Roadshow” for MLB fans? Any time an old Honus Wagner gets found in someone’s attic, it’s news! Take a camera and hit the memorabilia shows or card shows, follow people to flea markets or on the road to find the rare and unique. It all breeds interest in the game and creates a feel for the nostalgia and history of the sport.
There isn’t a better network for original sports programming than the MLB Network, and that’s where MLB Summer Break comes in!
I sent proposals to the MLB Network and Major League Baseball, but figured I’d share it online too! The idea behind MLB Summer Break comes down to visiting all 30 Major League ballparks by car, while creating family-centric programming by leveraging Social Media, Web-based platforms, scheduled awareness events, and the MLB Network.
- Raise awareness for Prostate Cancer prevention and treatment.
- Promote Father/Child relationships by using Major League Baseball as a catalyst.
- Act as a bonding agent across multiple Major League Baseball official sponsors.
Timeline: June 16th, 2013 (Father’s Day) to September 1st, 2013
- Road Trip veteran! Doug has visited 27 of 30 Major League ballparks, and another 20+ MiLB parks.
- Active parent and volunteer.
- Softball volunteer assistant coach for 4 years.
- Baseball “die-hard”! Megan has played baseball since she was 4yrs old and averages 10-15 games a year in person.
- Major League enthusiasm! Maddy has a fantastic energy and a love of the game. When your daughter wants to play catch in the snow, you know you’re doing something right!
Purpose: Raise awareness for Prostate Cancer prevention and treatment.
- My great-grandfather passed away from prostate cancer before I was born. My uncle was treated for prostate cancer in 2010, and my dad completed prostate cancer surgery in November. I have a personal relationship with prostate cancer and have already been screened on more than one occasion, at 38. I’m a high risk candidate for prostate cancer, and would be an advocate for raising screening and testing awareness by city.
- Starting the promotion on June 16th (Father’s Day) is inline with Major League Baseball’s Prostate Cancer awareness campaigns.
- 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in men. (www.cancer.org)
Purpose: Promote Father/Child relationships by using Major League Baseball as a bonding catalyst.
- Major League Baseball heavily promoted the concept of “Family” in the 2012 MLB Tickets “I Hope This Gets To You” commercials. MLB Summer Break would be a progression of that campaign by encouraging family and baseball.
- Recent studies suggest that kids with actively involved fathers are more likely to be emotionally secure, confident, have better social connections, and be less likely to get in trouble at home or at school. Children with fathers who are nurturing, involved, and playful also turn out to have higher IQs and better linguistic and cognitive capacities. (www.parentingweekly.com) MLB Summer Break is designed around creating bonding experiences with kids on the road, and could be used as a template or spark for dads to spend more time with their kids!
- Entertainment value. Taking two girls under 10 on a roadtrip across the United States is bound to be entertaining and probably historic! It’s about exploring America while embracing the American Pastime!
Purpose: Act as a bonding agent across multiple Major League Baseball official sponsors.
- A Chevrolet vehicle would be used for the MLB Summer Break roadtrip. The vehicle would be skinned with MLB Official Sponsor logos and a signature “Summer Break” graphic. The vehicle would be outfit with Firestone tires, and insurance would be provided by State Farm.
- Holiday Inn would be the primary hotel provider for each stop of the trip. This would include cities that are outside of the major league city stops.
- Cellphones and internet would be provided by T-Mobile, while laptops would be powered by Intel.
- There are a number of ways to involve multiple business partners, while creating a platform synergy around the MLB Summer Break concept through print, internet, and Social Media advertising campaigns.
- Target of 2 webisodes per week — The differentiator is that many of the webisodes would be conducted by the girls. Webisode topics would be geared towards tourist and food stops and experiences. There would be additional webisodes focused on each ballpark. Unlike most travel shows, these would be family focused activities and recommendations from the kids point of view!
- Social Media campaign — We would operate under a designated Twitter name that would post frequent updates and candid Twitpics, combined with sponsor suggested stops, check-ins, and promoted tweets.
- Prostate Cancer awareness drives — Awareness drives would be scheduled and designed to promote screening recommendations and prevention.
- The MLB Summer Break concept can operate on a small scale Webisode/Social Media campaign platform, or it could be easily adapted into reality-based programming for the MLB Network.
Alternative Concepts: MLB Summer Break could be adapted as needed. The following concepts would be a fit for reality-based programming with the MLB Network.
- “Summer Break” could be modified to a one-person campaign; a combined Diners/Drive-Ins/Dives themed show, but with a mix of Cathedrals Of The Game.
- MLB “Fan Van” – Cross-brand the MLB Fan Cave with a mobile traveling unit. Another idea would be to designate two vehicles with competing teams starting at opposite ends of the United States.
- MLB “Fam Van” – Similar to the “Fan Van”, the “Fam Van” is a family specific vehicle and platform.
That’s the idea behind MLB Summer Break! Would you watch it? Do you like the concept better as a family adventure, or would you rather it was a solo show? What other kinds of programming do you want to see on the MLB Network?
Tweet your ideas and feedback with #MLBSummerBreak! Love the concept of MLB Summer Break? Be sure to tweet @MLBNetwork, @MLBFanCave and @MLB directly and let them know!