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How Marketing, and Championships, Changed the Red Sox Image, with CMO Adam Grossman

How sports marketing is pivoting to energize a younger fanbase and the role the Red Sox will play

Photo by Jason Weingardt on Unsplash

What kind of power can a World Series ring wield? Think of it like this: For nearly a century, no sports franchise dealt with more apathy, more frustration, and more heartache than Boston’s beloved Red Sox. There was the deal that jettisoned Babe Ruth to the Yankees, a bounding ball that squeaked under the glove of Bill Buckner, and of all things, a cursed Billy Goat. Sure they had Fenway Park, the Monster, and Pesky’s Pole. But you don’t play the games to dance in the shadows of your competitors.You play for parades.

“The best marketing campaign is a World Series victory.”

That’s Adam Grossman, the CMO of the Boston Red Sox, one of Major League Baseball’s most iconic, prideful and tortured franchises. Adam joined the club in the spring of 2004, just before the club’s run of four championships over a 16-year window, and just before Curt Schilling’s bloody sock helped will them to their first championship since 1918. And during that time, the club’s image has changed dramatically, from loveable loser to perennial champion.

While success on the field undoubtedly plays a big role, sports franchises are responsible for their own brand, and when you’re the Red Sox, being entrusted with that brand is a major responsibility. Grossman joined the Red Sox at a unique time. The club was undergoing a renaissance. A new Front Office, coupled with a rising star in the baseball operations department, meant excitement around the ballpark.

“It really felt like it sort of had this start-up feel, a start-up mentality,” Grossman said. “A 90-year-old iconic history, but it felt like a spaceship that was about to take off in some way. As a 22-year-old lover of baseball who sort of just stumbled into this, you couldn’t ask for a better environment.”

On a recent episode Marketing Trends, Adam joined the show to break down the ins and outs of stewarding a club’s marketing efforts, how baseball must continue to reinvent itself to appeal to a younger generation, and why managing the customer experience outside of the ballpark is a growing challenge.



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