The new owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers met the press and made one concrete promise: to improve the fan experience at Dodger Stadium.
Not exactly a groundbreaking or unexpected promise regarding Dodger Stadium: any new owner of the team would make the same pledge. But this one may may actually have some heft behind it. Though Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten have received most of the attention as part of the new ownership group, Guggenheim Baseball Management, a real key member of the team may be Mandalay Entertainment's Peter Guber.
Guber's expertise is in the fan/customer experience. And he knows a thing or two about baseball: though not a party to this deal, Mandalay Baseball Properties is arguably the most successful operator in Minor League Baseball, as the Dayton Dragons (Low Class A; Midwest League) hold the record for most consecutive sellouts in North American sports, and the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League) are renowned for the manner in which fans are wooed and treated. It's not a matter of stupid mascots or loud music: it's a matter of making every fan feel welcome at the ballpark. And that means examining Dodger Stadium game-day operations in extreme detail. From AP:
"But to say that every opportunity won't be looked at of how we can evolve our fan experience, I would not be telling the truth," Guber said. "There is no element that we wouldn't look at."
There is sometimes a bias in MLB circles against their MiLB brethren. Not everything on the MiLB level can scale to a major-league level, admittedly, but lessons in good customer service can certainly come from the Minor League side. The Dodgers could stand to learn from the likes of Bob Murphy and Scott Sonju, and Guber would be smart to bring in some of his Mandalay Baseball Properties hands to provide tips on ballpark customer service and best practices.
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