With the 2012 MLB season in full swing, the MLB Fan Cave is up and running, in year two, after a highly successful inaugural campaign. The couches have gotten busier, with nine mega-fans instead of two and a reality show theme that will result in the elimination of eight “Cave Dwellers” as the season wears on.
MLB has always had an interesting viewpoint with regard to social media and fan engagement. Some would call it incredibly lacking. The league hasn’t allowed content to be placed on YouTube and also has had trouble connecting with younger fans that are vital for the sport’s popularity into the future. It also has been slow to embrace technology, an issue that we have already covered in this space when performed well.
The MLB’s position seems to be changing rapidly with the immense popularity of the Fan Cave as it has become the organization’s primary method of social outreach. Executive Vice President of Business for MLB Tim Bowman refers to the Fan Cave as “being designed to be creating content that literally runs minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour and makes baseball a part of the conversation whether or not there is a game going on or a highlight being played.”
Building on the success of last year’s Fan Cave, this year’s version has drawn 22,000 applicants for the nine coveted spots. The cave dwellers who are chosen will have to quit their day jobs and move to New York, where they will live and watch every game during the 2012 MLB season in the Fan Cave. Applicants were evaluated on their social media prowess and the chosen few rose above the crowd by conducting Twitter campaigns and obtaining endorsements from professional athletes for a spot in the Fan Cave.
Eddie Mata, one of the cave dwellers told Mashable “We love baseball like you love your family.” There doesn’t seem be a more accurate portrayal of what it truly takes to get one of the precious Fan Cave spots.
While the two Fan Cave dwellers last season were along for the ride all the way to the World Series, that won’t be the case this season. This year’s nine participants will have to prove their social media prowess throughout the season in order to remain in the Cave, as individuals will be eliminated until the final remaining cave dweller is crowned champion at the end of the season. This amped up pressure will challenge the dwellers to produce on-going popular content or risk not even finishing the season.
It sounds like a lot to risk considering all of these people left full time jobs to participate in the this MLB venture, but for the devoted fans it should result in a fun summer in the Fan Cave.