We’ve discussed the future a lot as Royals fans. The organization’s status and relevance is heavily dependent on the future – the talented prospects, the solid draft scouting and the strong player development. Those kinds of things on the field are going to be most important to keeping fans around and watching, even those who have been the most loyal.
Going into 2011, those fans who follow the team closely have an idea that it’s going to be rough. But there’s hope. There’s the future!
We can talk endlessly about the potential of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Wil Myers. We can rave about the potential of John Lamb and Mike Montgomery. We can do that, and we probably will for the next year.
But the Royals are getting smart about looking ahead in a different way, as well.
Reports this week have shown that the internet is growing as the primary medium by which people, and especially young people, get their news. This comes after the internet had surpassed print and radio as a primary news source as recently as 2008.
While the study focuses primarily on world and national news, I think it’s safe to say that sports news and baseball news would fall into a similar category. The gap may even be closer than it is with a general audience. My assumption is that a heavy majority of sports fans are male. Males are likely the heaviest users of the internet and other gadgetry. With the quick half-life of a sports news update, the internet is a much better facilitator of updating a news cycle. Television reports have to have time allotted, print medium usually won’t get anything out until the next day. But a simple tweet – a mere 140 characters – can set everything in motion. Just ask Randy Moss or Bill Simmons.
With this growing impact of the internet, the Royals are taking a very smart step towards embracing that technology. As part of this year’s FanFest, the Royals are reaching out to Royals fans who are active in social media – be it blogging, Youtube video tributes, Twitter, etc. It’s called the Digital Digest and selected applicants get an opportunity for a behind the scenes look at FanFest. Oh and the opportunity to interview Dayton Moore and/or Royals players.
That’s not a wildly amazing prize. The Thursday “preview” is already open to season ticket holders, and they don’t say how much time you get with Dayton Moore and who knows what you get to actually ask…
What I find interesting is that part of the agreement is that you then utilize your preferred method of social media to document the proceedings.
It’s a step in a good direction. The additional access — heck the mere recognition of this element of the fanbase — is a nice move in that it increases the involvement from the fans’ side of things. It indicates a willingness to both utilize social media and perhaps welcome additional participation.
Greg Schaum and other Royals fans who are active on Twitter got involved in a discussion about the potential of this spelling a willingness to credential bloggers for Royals events. I’m all for that, both from a personally biased standpoint (I mean, c’mon, of COURSE I’m for that), but also because I think it could be beneficial for the organization as well.
I’d love if I could make a living writing about the Royals, but at this point, that’s not realistic. I do this as a hobby, for fun, and with an eye towards the remote possibility of something down the line. I’m not alone – not only would I say that Kings of Kauffman has a collection of informed, empassioned and loyal fans, but I’d say that Royals fans – and the other blogs out there – are among the best in baseball. I’m preaching to the choir, I know, but can you imagine a Yankees fan sticking around, watching losing season after losing season? I don’t know if it’s possible to see more bad baseball than we have in Kansas City. And yet…I’m still here. And it’s not just me.
So yeah, Royals fans have passion. You have to if you’re going to follow this team for this long. It translates to the blogging/social media world too. It takes a special kind of crazy, in the middle of a sweltering August, your team out of first by 25 games, to sit on Twitter for a baseball game and keep commenting.
The Royals are smart to recognize that dedication.
Maybe there are fans of other organizations who are more passionate. That’s fine. There are some that are more active online. That’s also just dandy. But the Royals are embracing the group they have now, and it can only benefit everyone.