Why the MLB’s Next Frontier is…. India?
We were recently running a “Deep Intel Audience Audit” on an MLB Team’s fan base. We were specifically looking at what persona groups in the audience would be highly susceptible to purchase an Internet Service Provider’s services (more on this in another blog post.) In doing our data harvest (in this case we monitored the entire world’s digital conversations and behavior across any digital domain) we saw some fascinating activity in a location we least expected it….India.
Our data science team said, “It’s the craziest thing, whenever (MLB team name, we cannot name them due to confidentiality reasons) plays a game the entire country of India lights up on our activity map.” Conversations, images, videos, blog posts, and social media across millions of points of data are created from the country of India.
Interested in this unique spike in activity, we analyzed why this was happening and found a unique reason. Turns out many Indian students have come to the United States for various collegiate degrees. When they come over here what is the sport that most represents India’s most famous sport of Cricket? You guessed it, baseball. They become big fans of this team when they get here (this team is in a major metropolitan city), and much like all immigrants that are transplanted to a new place, begin following and becoming lifelong fans of a team that other Indians have liked. Essentially the proverbial snowball rolls down the hill and within a sub-population of Indian sports enthusiasts, a love of baseball and the team is born.
Given the political and educational immigrant climate, most of the individuals head home back to India. But their fandom for their favorite team remains the same. Furthermore, like a virus, the return home and spread their love of that team to all of their family and friends.
More analysis is to be done on the types of teams that Indians specifically love, their consumption habits, and the persona groups within the population that are interested in baseball, but these initial findings suggest a lot of growth in the fast growing Indian landscape for a sport that many question if it has international appeal. Worst case, MLB could sell a lot of merchandise in the country, assign TV rights, and content distribution and begin to further push the international brands of the MLB and individual teams.
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