MLB has made another big move in its efforts to get fans invested in its stars before they become stars.
The league on Wednesday announced a new event called “Spring Breakout,” a four-day Spring Training showcase during which each MLB team will field a squad of its top prospects and play a series of exhibition games against each other. Twelve of those Spring Breakout games will be paired with MLB exhibitions to form doubleheaders.
The Spring Breakout games themselves will be combined with autograph sessions and other opportunities for fans to meet the minor-league players. Many of the games will also be broadcast on league platforms, including MLB.com and the MLB Network.
Baseball has long been challenged in this area, given the relatively low profile of college baseball and the several years of minor-league play typically required of most prospects. Those factors forge a very different dynamic than that seen in football or basketball, where top players enjoy prominent TV exposure in college and then immediately jump to the NFL or NBA.
A Domino Effect?
The new event is a continuation of related efforts, such as a recent elevation in the production value of the MLB Draft and additional focus on the annual MLB All-Star Futures Game. In each instance, MLB is attempting to bridge the development time required of most prospects and build fan affinity at an earlier stage.
“Spring Breakout will provide a new opportunity to showcase the future stars of the game as they continue on their journey to the major leagues,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said.