Winner: Major League Baseball - MLB Fan Cave
The MLB Fan Cave, in its third year in 2013, has evolved from a novel idea into a powerful marketing platform for Major League Baseball, growing its social media audience exponentially while engaging a fan base 20 years younger than the average baseball fan. The MLB Fan Cave began in March 2011 with the goals of reaching younger fans via social media while increasing the profile of star players and placing baseball at the nexus of all things pop culture.
A group of "cave dwellers"—fans who earn the opportunity to watch every single MLB regular season and postseason game inside the Fan Cave—serve as fan ambassadors, charged with blogging and tweeting about their experiences and interacting with other fans via social media and online videos featuring MLB players and celebrity visitors, all while sitting in a New York City store front with floor to ceiling windows where passersby could watch their every move. The MLB Fan Cave also serves as a daily digital content factory for Major League Baseball, turning regular visits by players and celebrities into opportunities to engage with younger fans in new ways via online video and social media. Every player/celebrity visit presents a fresh opportunity—and challenge—to generate entertaining concepts for video and other content, including Instagram photos, memes, Vines, etc.
In its second year in 2012, the MLB Fan Cave didn't just double or even triple its social media following; amazingly, it quintupled to more than 1.3 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But as most social media experts have realized by now, there are many things more important than sheer following on social media, chief among them being engagement. And despite adding nearly a million more followers, the MLB Fan Cave has maintained and even increased one of the highest levels of engagement in all of sports.
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