Spring Training Baseball: A Prelude to Opening Day

Introduction:

As the winter chill begins to thaw and the days lengthen, baseball fans across the country eagerly anticipate the arrival of spring training. For many, this annual ritual marks the beginning of a new season filled with hope, excitement, and the promise of a fresh start. Spring training is more than just practice games; it's a time for players to fine-tune their skills, teams to assess their rosters, and fans to reconnect with their favorite pastime. 

From the bustling streets of New York to the sun-drenched fields of Los Angeles, spring training captures the hearts of fans in major markets across the nation. Baseball's biggest markets are burgeoning with excitement - highlighted by some of the game's biggest stars. 

Key Highlights:

As traditional television continues to lose subscribers, MLB is seeing its biggest gains through streaming. The 2023 season on MLB.TV, the league’s out-of-market streaming package, recorded more than 12.7 billion minutes watched, up +9% ahead of last year’s record pace. Furthermore, the outlet has experienced a 14% increase in users, along with a concurrent 17% increase in the games watched (Source: MLB.com). The growth is expected to climb in 2024, as many of baseball’s big market teams are poised for big seasons. 

In New York, Yankees and Mets draw devoted fans eager to watch their favorite teams compete. The Yankees traded for one of baseball's brightest stars this off-season, acquiring lefty slugger Juan Soto. The lethal combination of Aaron Judge and Soto will undoubtedly draw interest from baseball fans nationwide.  

Out West, the Dodgers reign supreme in the baseball universe, attracting fans from Los Angeles and beyond. The Dodgers shook the baseball world with two massive signings: the first, reigning A.L. MVP Shohei Ohtani—arguably baseball's biggest star—and the other, Japan's best pitcher in 2023, Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The Dodgers' star-studded roster has the potential to be a global phenomenon.   

Meanwhile, the Phillies inspire hope and excitement in Philadelphia as they gear up for the season ahead. Coming off back-to-back post-season appearances and rostering one of the most marketable players in the game (Bryce Harper), the Phillies will once again be one of baseball's biggest draws across Connected T.V.   

Similarly, Chicago, the Windy City, buzzes with excitement as fans flock to see their teams in action. Wrigley Field will always be a crown jewel venue for baseball fans, and the young and lovable Cubbies roster will once again be led by Cody Bellinger, a recent free agent signing that made national news. 

Conclusion:

As the countdown to Opening Day continues, teams will begin finalizing their rosters and preparing to break camp. From coast to coast, fans eagerly anticipate the return of baseball and the promise of a new season. Major market teams like those in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco inspire passion and devotion from fans all over the map. 

For brands looking to connect with baseball fans, spring training offers a prime opportunity to refine and target their campaigns. Fans streaming live games are nearly 70% more likely to purchase an advertiser than traditional T.V. viewers (source: Nielsen). Opening Week for Major League Baseball generates a groundswell of interest and draws one of the largest streaming audiences of the season. With the rise of connected T.V. and streaming services, our clients have a unique chance to engage with a captive and passionate audience with the guarantee of 100% in-game delivery - which can not be found anywhere else.  

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