Timpone took on the CMO role last summer after it had remained vacant since 2016. Her challenge, as she sees it, is to grow the next generation of fans in a way that diehard fans see as “additive” to the game.
Timpone’s strategy is to use data and segmentation to understand and connect with its various audiences in the ways and places they prefer. For example, MLB uncovered that younger and casual baseball fans are more interested in personalities and their backstories than in loyalty to a team. “A young fan really comes to the game through the door of the personality and the celebrity of a player,” Timpone said, according to AdAge. “That's not incompatible with being a fan of a club, but it really means that we really need to put, front-and-center, the backstory of why that is so important.”
This has led to the league focusing on such stories. For example, the league highlighted Jeremy Peña’s first big league homerun, which happened while his parents were being interviewed live on television. The league then took the footage of the Houston Astros rookie and turned it into a targeted ad that did very well.
Other players, such as the Mets’ Mark Cahna, share insights into their life on social media. Cahna is a foodie and shares his tastes on his Instagram account. This is another potential avenue for MLB to explore and mine for stories to tell. The league is also focusing on influencer fans and celebrities.