Sports | September 28, 2021 11:29 am

New York Mets May Offer In-Game Comedy Shows as Part of Rebranding Effort

It appears owner Steve Cohen doesn't want the only joke at Citi Field to be how his team is playing

The mascot Mr. Met at a game between the Pirates and Mets at Citi Field with his hands up in the air
Mr. Met at a game between the Pirates and Mets at Citi Field.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

As the New York Mets, the first team in MLB history to spend 103 days in first place and finish the year below .500, prepare to play out the string and close out 2021, higher-ups within the organization are already looking ahead to 2022.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mets owner Steve Cohen, who is also the chairman and executive officer of hedge fund Point72 Asset Management, is planning a massive rebrand of the franchise designed to help attract more casual and prospective fans.

In addition to updating the brand design of the team (hopefully Mr. Met avoids being sent down to the minors), Cohen plans to introduce “new experiences and features” at Citi Field in Queens “meant to give the Mets more cultural credibility.” Marketing and talent management firm Range Media Partners, which is heading up the rebranding bid, also wants to make the Mets more attractive to a younger audience (the median age for Major League Baseball’s TV viewing audience is 59.7 years old for the regular season) as well as make the team more relevant on social media and in movies and music.

“The initiative remains in development, but ideas include offering live comedy throughout games, updating existing spaces in the stadium where people can gather, adding more screens throughout the baseball park and making other technology upgrades,” according to the the Journal.

One might argue that the best way for the Mets, who last made the playoffs in 2016 and have only finished over .500 once since then, to update their image and bring in new fans would be to start winning games. But perhaps Cohen, who is paying out the third-largest payroll in MLB this season behind only the LA Dodgers and crosstown rival New York Yankees, realizes that victories can’t simply be bought. A new image, theoretically, can be. With the help of Range Media, Cohen is going to try to do just that and make his team’s fan base younger and more diverse.

“We’re an older, whiter demographic,” Jeff Deline, the team’s new chief revenue officer, told the Journal. “I don’t think you’ll see many kids sit down and watch a baseball game from start to finish. They will watch the highlights on TikTok. All sports are being challenged with how you attract young fans. How do we get them engaged again? Their consumer habits are completely different. By fifth grade, that’s when your affinity toward a brand is made.”

Look for the methods the Mets will use to attempt to create that affinity to hit the field in 2022, if not beforehand.