The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals are at polar ends of the baseball spectrum right now. What does the Nationals championship mean for the Orioles moving forward?
November has arrived. Leaves have fallen, the air gets colder, and the Nationals are celebrating their 1st title in 95 years as a baseball team in D.C. Meanwhile, up the beltway, is a baseball team with two 100+ season losses and in a rebuild. Regional rivals have consequences when one is on the rise and the other one is in a rut. You cannot find a more polar opposite of directions that the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals are in at this moment in the DMV.
As a consequence, there are a lot of things in which the Orioles have to focus on to keep their fanbase. Especially with a team just down the street. Whether fans would like to admit it or not, a regional team winning a title this close to another changes the landscape. What this article will do is take some insight into the potential forefront of a regional team’s response to a championship win that is just separated by miles.
Potential to find a new purpose for Camden Yards
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The Nationals title could potentially mean that Camden Yards needs a reinvention. A hint of this thought was brought to fruition with the Billie Joel Concert. Camden Yards may need to become a multi-purpose 365 day entertainment mecca. That will potentially mean renovations, unforeseen upgrades and even more fresh ideas that will roll over into the 2020s. The money to match the bottom line means more thinking outside of the box and forgetting the confidence of old.
Before the Nationals arrived in 2004, the Baltimore Orioles built a Neo-Classic ballpark in 1992 and its location was no coincidence. Built near the beltway, Camden yards served to those coming from York, PA all the way down to Virginia. At the time from the early 90s till the mid 2000s, there was one baseball team that had regional dominance and could draw the crowds.
Since the Nationals arrival, this has not been the case anymore. No one can deny the fact that Nationals Park has gained more attention in the eyes of MLB in the past 7 years. Historically, Baltimore been 26 years since Baltimore has had an All Star Game and their rival 30 miles down the beltway has and a world series already
More Attempts Keep Orioles’ Fans and attract New Ones
Expect to see more attempts from the Orioles to appeal to fans. With the Nationals recently winning, the Orioles will have to re-evaluate their appeal to new fans as well as keeping their current fanbase. Earlier this fall, local media reported that the Baltimore Orioles canceled the 2020 Fanfest. Subsequently, the result was not good. Local radio stations took calls from frustrated fans that felt alienated during a time that attendance is low. On the other hand, the Orioles are taking advantage of this period to appeal to families with a time change. For 2020, the Baltimore Orioles home schedule will include a 6:35 weeknight games. Orioles games before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, the Orioles have changed the standard start time of 7:05 to 6:35.These are the hopes of a rebuilding franchise to appeal to a fanbase that is sparse in between.
Expect to see more fan friendly strategies to keep fans in the seats. Especially during a period where some fans could easily jump ship to buy a curly W hat. The Nationals of course will not have to worry about these types of strategies. Sports is a bandwagon business which means teams that lose will see a decrease in fans, but teams that win will see an increase. Business wise, the Orioles have an opportunity to appeal to fans with prices, amenities and more time friendly schedules that can allow their revenue to match with competition. It surely won’t be with caliber championships anytime soon.
Competition With Marketing
The World Series title in D.C. also means that more sponsorships and appealing to executive suites and corporate suites. So the strategy is not impossible for the Orioles to get their skyboxes sold out and bring corporate companies to Camden Yards, but will be harder when Nationals Park is 38 miles away and are currently the bell of the ball. So how does this strategy work? Appeal in different ways of pricing and sell the pitch of potentially becoming a potential championship contender in 2 to 3 years.
With 23 months left on the lease for Camden Yards and the whole MASN fiasco looming, The Baltimore Orioles have their work cut out for them this offseason to appeal to keeping a fanbase. No one can ignore the fact that attendance is low and the most obvious solution is to win and win a lot. However, the more realistic point of view is that a small market franchise will take time to get back to their glory days. So changes will have to come to keep up to par with the Washington Nationals, who are riding off of an improbable playoff ride and championship win.
In this situation, the best thing to do for Baltimore Orioles fans is to wait and see what will come about between now and when pitchers and catchers report to Florida.