Treating All Red Sox Fans Like Season Ticket Holders
I love baseball.
I love and respect the game with a unmatched pride and get upset when people talk about how slow the game is. I’m that guy.
I love reading about baseball.
Since I was old enough to hold the newspaper, I would read every line of ink dedicated to baseball and spend days in the agate (box scores/stats) section. Like a kid Bill James, I loved deconstructing the game and following how Player A was tracking against Player B.
I love Red Sox baseball.
Personally, I love the Red Sox and use the internet (and countless apps) to follow how my team is doing. Mostly this involves me opening a browser, then going to a)RedSox.com, b) ESPN.com or c) MLB.com. From there, an unwelcome ad tsunami starts and undoubtedly I am startled by a loud audio track because some random video on the site’s homepage has started playing. I am now forced to decide how to end this noise by a) locating the video and stopping it, b) clicking the computer’s mute button or c) exiting the site. All three options are annoying and none are fan friendly.
Simply put: I don’t love what the internet has done to the fan experience of baseball.
So rather than just complaining, I decided to start SoxLunch.com.
What began as a friends and family email on July 21, 2013 became a personal mission to create a single-purpose first-class fan experience. The concept was to build something simple and snackable (term first introduced to me by Glen Engler) by dropping this unique, hand-curated Sox summary on your digital doorstep.
Designing for mobile, I prioritized the content into 3 simple sections:
- Outcome = Win/loss & what happened in < 50 words.
- Next Game = Who do the Sox play next & who is pitching?
- Box Score (an homage to my childhood data nerd).
Next it was time to focus on storytelling and I tried to think about the game of baseball itself. Each game has a winner/loser but more importantly each victory has a hero. Think about it, there is usually a single act that is the difference maker. In Sox games, this can be a walk-off by Big Papi or a lights-out ninth inning from Koji. This act is a huge part of why we watch and what we hope happens. I attempted to capture this emotion by creating a digital baseball card (that btw looks amazing on a mobile device) and started using custom images to immediately let the fan know the game’s outcome. For example, as soon as you open the email and see an image of Ortiz you immediately know that a)the Sox won & b) Ortiz was the hero.
To make email visually like no other, I enlisted the help of another Sox fanatic and gifted illustrator named Brian Cody. Brian created a suite of drawings (like the Papi one above) that represented how a fan may view these larger-than-life players. Since Brian is a lifelong Red Sox fan (read: curmudgeon), he suggested we take an alternative approach with the reporting of Sox losses via the use of the tombstone image that only-a-suffering-bastard-sox-fan could appreciate.
Next up, I concocted a suitable name and I landed on Sox Lunch. Why?
Sox = Red Sox
Lunch = Because it’s sent at noon (content consumption data spikes around the noon/lunch hour).
It’s that simple. My hope is that fans can now get their vital Sox news without any clicks, video ad noises and pain.
Today is Opening Day for the Red Sox and marks the start of my 3rd season running Sox Lunch. As someone who started his career in Sports @ The Boston Herald with aspirations of covering the Sox, it’s been a dream come true. Truthfully, this entire experience has been a blast and I’m overwhelmed by the thousands of members of the growing Sox Lunch community.
Ben Gould, a smart & funny Sox fan joined our crew in 2014 and mans a must-follow Twitter account @SoxLunch. Brian Cody has whipped up a fresh batch of drawings (see Pando below) and I’m ready to start following the team that may have lost Lester but has certainly reloaded.
I’d like to invite you to watch the season with me.
If you are a casual fan then this is the perfect way to stay informed without having to do any of the heavy lifting. I have many Teachers and working professional that write in to share they use Sox Lunch to keep them “in the lunch conversation”. If this is you, sign up for SoxLunch.com.
If you have a family member who struggles with technology but can open their email, please sign them up for SoxLunch.com.
If you love baseball and are annoyed with interwebs, please sign up for SoxLunch.com.
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