Expanding your mission beyond the bricks and mortar: Cooperstown, TeamWorks Media and La Vida Baseball

By Tab Bamford of TeamWorks Media

The focus for many museums feels like a real estate agent’s: location, location, location. Even in big cities like Chicago, there are often two key elements that come into play when trying to engage your core audiences:

1) How do we become a destination for visitors?

2) How do we better engage our local audiences?

Those questions are tied to the notion that brick and mortar institutions represent the limits of the museum’s relevance.

But what about the larger, boundless conversations happening around your institution’s mission and subject matter?

Baseball as cultural touchstone

Baseball often mirrors the larger political and social conversations going on in this country. A larger number of Latinos are now on Major League rosters and fans have followed them through the gates at stadiums.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the great sports museums. Its place in the game is recognizable beyond the playing field; when you say “Cooperstown” people immediately associate it with baseball even though many can’t find it on a map of New York.

In the last three years, the Hall inducted Pedro Martinez and Ivan Rodriguez and, this year, will welcome another, Vladimir Guerrero. Future years could see Mariano Rivera and Edgar Martinez voted in. All are Latino, hailing from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Panama.

When Martinez was inducted in 2015, 30,000 fans showed up from the Dominican Republic. This influx of largely Latino fans convinced the leadership at the Hall of Fame that they needed to have a larger voice in the cultural conversation. They needed to address both the historical impact of Latino players and the current players influencing the major and minor league rosters today.

But how do you do that within a hard-to-reach town of less than 2,000 residents?

La Vida Baseball: New stories for a growing audience

The pre-2017 sports media landscape didn’t include a foundational property that celebrated culture through the lens of baseball for English-first Latinos in the United States (and abroad). So in partnership with TeamWorks Media, the Hall of Fame created the digital media brand La Vida Baseball.

The Hall of Fame didn’t just join an existing conversation – they created their own.  Knowing MLB, ESPN and others have game highlights covered, La Vida Baseball celebrates the great individuals and moments in the game. It’s a lifestyle brand that covers culture, religion, family, food and the journey of players to the Major Leagues. Through La Vida Baseball, the Hall of Fame has been able to create a place for Latinos to share their stories, their way.

The results?  Over the first year, La Vida Baseball has engaged an average audience of more than 10 million per month across new, stand-alone social channels and a robust website.

Every museum as a story to tell. There is an audience – beyond the walls of your physical museum – for your institution to engage larger audiences around your subject matter expertise and join the current conversation.

TeamWorks Media is proud to be the Official Conference Storyteller for AMM 2018.  Please drop by their booth (#404) to share your stories.  You also have the opportunity to earn your official “STORYTELLER” t-shirt through a 10-minute “lightening” consult with members of the TeamWorks staff.  To schedule in advance, please email katie@teamworksmedia.com.  Slots are limited, and so are t-shirts!