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Published: Wednesday, 4/10/2013

MUD HENS 2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Hens use social media for ticket, merchandise sales

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Remaining relevant is a priority for the Toledo Mud Hens.

Like most successfully managed businesses, the minor league baseball franchise has leaned heavily in recent years on utilizing social media and other modern-day technological communication tools to keep their products readily accessible on a computer, cell phone, or iPad.

"Technology is always changing and the mobile development revolution has changed the game most recently, so we had to update to being mobile ready," said Nathan Steinmetz, Mud Hens manager of online marketing and ticket sales. "Social media has been most useful to us."

Mud Hens tickets or souvenirs can be purchased rather easily by cell phone or iPad because the latest technological upgrade made by the Mud Hens. It's all about keeping the brand visible.

MUD HENS 2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Steinmetz served as a season ticket and group sales associate for several years before he was given the opportunity in 2008 to fill the newly created role as manager of online marketing and ticket sales.

The Walleye, Toledo's minor league hockey team, also is managed by the same group that oversees the Mud Hens. Steinmetz gives approval of postings such as news items, photographs, schedules and even advertising on both sites.

Both teams exist on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

The Facebook page for the Mud Hens had 57,090 Likes during the first week of April, which was nearly twice as many Likes received by any other minor league baseball team listed on Facebook. The Reno, Nev., Aces of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League ranked second with 29,002 Likes.

Furthermore, the Mud Hens Twitter account has more than 13,000 followers.

The Mud Hens use both to update followers with information such as real-time scoring, news releases and promotions.

"These forums are ways of engaging with the fans," he said.

Steinmetz said the organization has the capability to make announcements to the general public like a player being assigned from the Detroit Tigers to Toledo much quicker than it ever could 10 years ago.

But the ability to allow individuals to purchase game tickets or team gear online or by use of mobile devices perhaps represent the most significant aspect of the technological advances. Steinmetz said 40 percent of the Mud Hens single-game tickets are purchased online or by mobile devices.

"It's a great benefit to fans," Steinmetz said. "You can print it off your computer and save time from waiting in line."



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