Play ball! A sure sign of spring is Opening Day in the major leagues. Baseball fans couldn’t be happier that the 2013 Major League Baseball season kicked off yesterday as the Texas Rangers took on the Houston Astros. Baseball, America’s Favorite Pastime, is beloved by people of all ages, income levels, every race and ethnicity, and by fans across the country.
Baseball is also big business in the U.S. In 2012, Major League Baseball earned $7.5 billion in revenue, according to bizofbaseball.com. This is up from $7 billion for the prior two years. Revenues are generated from TV and radio broadcasting rights, ticket and merchandise sales, stadium contracts, endorsements, and more.
Who are the fans that support the business of baseball? Where do they live?
Attend Baseball Games
Take me out to the ball game! Baseball aficionados from around the U.S. love going to baseball games. They enjoy everything from peanuts to Cracker Jack® to a beer on a nice warm spring or summer day. Although fans are everywhere, areas where fans are most likely to attend a baseball game include the Eastern Seaboard and baseball towns including Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Residents of ZIP codes 13603 (Watertown, N.Y.), 31905 (Fort Benning, Ga.), 78236 (San Antonio, Texas), and 99703 (Fort Wainwright, Ak.) are nearly twice as likely as the average American to attend a baseball game.
Who is most likely to go to a baseball game? Esri has developed the Tapestry Segmentation system that classifies US residential neighborhoods into 65 unique market segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.
Residents of Boomburbs, Dorms to Diplomas, Military Proximity, and Wealthy Seaboard Suburbs are nearly twice as likely as the average American to attend baseball games. People in these segments have a wide range of age, income, and lifestyles.
Boomburbs communities are home to busy, affluent young families with young children who live an upscale lifestyle. The median household income is $103,545 more than double that of the U.S. median. Most households have two incomes and two vehicles. The median age is 36.1 years.
Most residents in Dorms to Diplomas communities are focused on education; approximately 81 percent are enrolled in college and graduate school. The median age is 21.9 years. Nearly three-fourths of employed residents work part-time in low-paying service jobs. The median household income is $23,807. Most residents rent apartments off-campus or live in dorms.
Military Proximity neighborhoods are comprised of people who depend upon the military for their livelihood; most of the labor force is in the Armed Forces, while others work in civilian jobs on military bases. The median household income is $38,795; the median age is 22.5 years.
Wealthy Seaboard Suburbs neighborhoods are older, established, affluent, and located primarily along the East and West Coasts. Households are primarily married couples. Approximately half of those who are employed work in management and professions. The median household income is $98,852, and the median age is 43.2 years.
Not everyone gets to go to a game and enjoy peanuts and Cracker Jack. Residents of City Commons, Rooted Rural, and Southern Satellites neighborhoods are least likely to attend a baseball game. Access and income may be factors for their lack of interest.
Residents of City Commons neighborhoods are young, single, or single parents. They are located primarily in cities of large Southern and Midwestern metropolitan areas. They may be unemployed, or work part-time and have a median household income of $15,831.
Rooted Rural and Southern Satellites neighborhoods are both located in rural areas where most of the population lives in farming areas; the rest are in the country or in small villages. Most residents of Rooted Rural neighborhoods are married couples with a median age of 44.1 years. Approximately one-third receive Social Security benefits. The median household income is $37,561. As the name implies, Southern Satellites neighborhoods are in the rural South. , They are primarily comprised of married-couple families. Residents work in the manufacturing and service industries. The median age is 39.9 years and the median household income is $36,759.
Watch Baseball on TV
Baseball is a popular sport to watch on TV. Games are watched by a diverse set of the population; no area is particularly significant for high viewership. People along the Eastern Seaboard and in some areas in the Western US are most likely to watch games on TV. Many of those areas are located in top media markets, and also have winning baseball teams, which helps ratings.
Residents of ZIP codes 15260 (Pittsburgh), 37916 (Knoxville, Tenn.), 55455 (Minneapolis), and 97331 (Corvallis, Ore.) are nearly twice as likely as the average American to watch baseball games on television.
Tapestry segments that are most likely to watch baseball games on TV overlap with residents of segments that attend games. Residents of Boomburbs, Dorms to Diplomas, Military Proximity, Pleasant-Ville, Prosperous Empty Nesters, Sophisticated Squires, and Wealthy Seaboard Suburbs neighborhoods are at least 1.25 times as likely as the average American to watch baseball games on TV.
Residents of Pleasant-Ville neighborhoods are prosperous and include married couple families living in single-family houses. Located primarily in the Northeastern states and California, the median age is 40.8 years. Approximately 40 percent have children and a median household income of $74,355.
Residents of Prosperous Empty Nesters neighborhoods are educated, experienced, and moving from child-rearing into retirement. Forty percent of the households are married couples with no children living at home. The median age is 48.3 years and the median household income is $66,014.
Cultured country life in low density, newer home developments attracts residents of Sophisticated Squires neighborhoods who are urban escapees. Their median age is 40 years. They include educated, married couple families that hold good-paying jobs, and are willing to commute longer distances to maintain their semi-rural lifestyle.
Southwestern Families are one-fourth as likely as the average American to watch baseball games on TV. Ethnically diverse, families in this segment are the bedrock of Hispanic culture in the Southwest. More have children than those who do not. The median age is 29.4 years; the median household income is $25,155.
Listen to Baseball on the Radio
Diehard baseball fans listen to games on the radio, enabling them to keep up with their teams and hear the games wherever they are. Likely listeners live along the Eastern Seaboard and in some baseball towns such as Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, and others.
Residents of ZIP codes 02881 (Kingston, R.I.), 47405 (Bloomington, Ind.), 78705 (Austin, Texas), and 94305 (Stanford, Calif.) are nearly twice as likely as the average American to listen to baseball on the radio.
Residents of Dorms to Diplomas, Pleasant-Ville, Top Rung, and Wealthy Seaboard Suburbs are at least 1.5 times more likely than the average American to listen to baseball games on the radio. These segments overlap with segments that attend games and watch baseball on television.
Residents of City Dimensions and Southern Satellites neighborhoods are the least likely to listen to baseball on the radio. These residents just are not baseball fans, for the most part, and do not consume baseball in person, on TV, or on the radio.
Why This Matters
Major League Baseball is one of America’s most popular sports. MLB wants to maintain and expand high fan participation by continuing to offer experiences and products that consumers want. Understanding who attends games, watches games on television, and/or listens to games on the radio is critical to keeping loyal fans and finding new ones.
Advertisers and product manufacturers that market their products during MLB games must understand who their audience is in order to send the right messages via the preferred media to reach their best customers and prospects. . As consumer tastes evolve, advertisers must also update their messaging to find new customers and new markets while maintaining the core customer base. Using segmentation and demographic information can help them achieve this goal.
Pam Allison is a digital media, marketing strategist, and location intelligence consultant. You can visit her blog at www.pamallison.com.