I’m going to the Cleveland Indians Family Social Suite for Father’s Day.
To die-hard Tribe fans, scoring these special suite tickets during one of the team’s 81 home games would be a brag-worthy event. Given the Indians’ aggressive offseason moves, combined with stints atop the American League Central standings, you’re talking about a dream come true.
But here’s the thing. I’m a Milwaukee Brewers fan who lives in Wisconsin.
OK, before Tribe fans start hating on me, here’s the deal. During the past three seasons, I’ve quietly adopted Cleveland as my second team, due in large part to an outstanding social media presence.
The Indians are true underdogs among big-budget foes, and outperform in digital marketing and social media innovation, strategy and creativity. (A quick read of my blog proves my advocacy and support – here and here.)
Professionally, I relate with the Indians. In my day job, I lead social media content strategy and execution for a regional insurance company with budgets dwarfed by our competitors. Yet our talented, nimble and scrappy social media team constantly leads the industry.
But enough about my day job. This is about the Indians and their amazing social media team.
If you don’t know, the #FamilySocialSuite is the younger sibling to the Indians Social Suite, which debuted during the 2011 season after experiments in 2010 with a “social media deck.” Yeah, that’s right. This idea began in Cleveland in 2010 – light years ago in social media terms (pre-Instagram and Vine) and eons ahead of other Major League Baseball teams in terms of digital marketing courage.
This coveted stadium real estate gives connected fans the chance to chat about the Tribe offline with other lucky ticket holders, and online with friends and followers from WiFi-enabled suites at Progressive Field. The only difference between the two is the FamilySocialSuite’s more kid-friendly environment and proximity to the Kids Clubhouse.
My journey to the #FamilySocialSuite started with a short application process. Yes, anyone can apply here. (But I imagine being a sports and social media blogger and NASA Tweetup veteran didn’t hurt.)
I consulted my family and chose dates that would mesh with our crazy-busy summer schedule. I hit submit and waited.
Not long ago, the email came. Courtney Schilling from the Indians PR team shared the good news. My family and I are headed to Cleveland. And on Father’s Day, no less.
The Indians continue to amaze.
My wife and two kids (age 10 and 12) don’t know much about the Indians or Cleveland, but we’re learning together. If you have tips for first-time visitors, leave a comment or tweet me your suggestions.
In the meantime, I’m headed to my local Wisconsin sporting goods store in search of an Indians hat and maybe a T-shirt.
We’ll be sharing our adventures online, of course. If you want to follow along, check out the #TribeTrek hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. And of course, check back on Fourth and 140 for a full recap soon.
Thanks for being a fan.