The sports world was mostly focused on Super Bowl 57 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. But toward the end of the game, Steve Cohen’s Mets found a way to grab some of the attention. The credit for that can be given to the marketing department, as well as the players who appeared in the following commercial.
We Wanna Hear You! 📞https://t.co/UweYKix2Ir pic.twitter.com/XfM1qszMrQ
— New York Mets (@Mets) February 9, 2023
So, what exactly was the point of this? Super Bowl commercials cost more than $1 million. Would a big-market team with a record-setting payroll like the Mets really need to convince people to come to the ballpark in 2023?
Probably not. This was part of a larger vision, as Mets Chief Marketing Officer Andy Goldberg told Evan Drellich of The Athletic:
You go around the world, and you see people and they’re wearing Yankee hats. They’re not wearing Yankee hats because they’re Yankee fans, just to be clear. They’re wearing Yankee hats because it’s an ‘NY,’ and New York is cool, right? I want that to be a Met hat, 100 percent.
This is the first flag planted in a fundamentally core direction that we want to go in.
I mean, yes and no. I’d imagine that New York is cool for many people who aren’t from America. But is that the only reason why those people wear Yankee hats? It’s possible, but I don’t think so.
The Yankees have built up an incredible reputation of being the most successful professional sports team in the world. Sure, their current World Series drought is the second-longest in franchise history, but still, 27 championships say a lot.
I’m not here to just give the “27 rings” argument and close out the browser. But it’s important. As late Raiders owner, Al Davis, used to say, “Just win, baby.” That’s the most important marketing tool.
The Mets have won at times, but it’s never been consistent. New York’s most successful run of baseball was in the 1980s when they actually overtook the Bombers as the city’s most popular team.
Overall, they’ve been to the postseason 10 times and have reached October in consecutive seasons only twice (1999-00 and 2015-16). The last time the Mets enjoyed more than two straight seasons with a winning record? That’d be 2005-08. You know — the period that led to just one playoff appearance and two late-season collapses? Yea, that one.
In his first press conference after the Mets’ sale became official in November 2020, both Cohen and Sandy Alderson talked about the organization’s desire to become an “iconic brand”. That was really hard to do with the Wilpons in charge. Their actions constantly led to the Mets being a punchline to many jokes more than anything else.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Going from “punchline” to “iconic brand” isn’t going to happen quickly, either. The Mets are laying a solid foundation for that, though. This Sportscenter-style commercial was great. However, winning 101 games in 2022 and reloading the roster for another postseason run in 2023 was even more important.
The Yankees haven’t won a World Series in 2009, but the consistent winning/being a contender has never stopped. Let’s use recent history as an example. New York hasn’t finished a year with a losing record since 1992. They’ve reached the postseason 24 times over this span, which includes three separate streaks of at least four consecutive trips to October. And, of course, five of those ended with them winning the World Series.
Casual baseball fans from around the world don’t just wear a Yankees hat because New York is cool. They wear it because the Yankees’ logo is synonymous with winning.
All the things New York’s marketing department wants to do to create a buzz around the Mets are great. Will they get more popular because of it? Maybe. Will they ever get to the global brand level the Yankees (or even the Los Angeles Dodgers) are at? Maybe not on the same level, but they could turn some of those Yankee hats into Mets hats, eventually.
The best way to do that will be by putting a winner on the field every year that consistently gets to the postseason more times than not. And it’s just about time for the Mets to get back to work in 2023.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.