Every year, we try and find the music that will make our stadiums rock and fans move. A former stadium music operator once told me “Respect the sanctity of the game”. So, how do you do that while doing a balancing act between management, the fans, and players?
I look at every game the same way. You never know who is making their first visit to your stadium. The music you choose to play, must make a positive and fun imprint in the fan’s mind. If it doesn’t help them enjoy their stadium experience, they may not come back. That includes walk-in music, pregame build up music, on field promotion music, music between innings, and even walk out music.
On the other hand, you have season ticket holders. Some are there every game. I make sure they don’t hear the same music from game to game. It goes to what the world famous promotion/advertising expert, Dan O’Day once said. “If You’re Predictable, You’re Dead”. Mix it up! Surprise them!
“If you’re predictable, you’re dead.”
Remember, you speak for the fan. You are a puppeteer. If you’re pulling the right strings with your music, the fans will respond. Look at your fan base. What age are your season ticket holders? I’ll bet, they are not fans of today’s modern music. So, what works? Songs that people already know.
If they can’t sing along or bob their head to the music, don’t play it. I use a BPM test of no lower than 120. Proven hits keep the crowd in their comfort zone. Across major league baseball stadiums, classic rock is the go to music, followed close by country, urban, oldies and novelty dances.
“If they can’t sing along or bob their head to the music, don’t play it.”
Then, there is player walk-up music. Sometimes you wonder why they pick the songs they do. Hey, if it puts them in the zone, play it. (Always using the clean version of course). Remember, from the moment that batter looks at his third base coach, he’s working. Stop the music. For pitchers, start their music as soon as you know who’s on the mound. Let them hear it until the opposing batter is set.
We’re all tempted to play something during an argument, and most of us do. Try to not add fuel to the fire. Remember what was said in the opening paragraph? Respect the sanctity of the game. That includes respect for the umpires. You can be ejected. Rule 4.06…The PBUCUM directs that organists are not to play in a manner that incites negative spectator reaction to an umpire decision. “Organist” includes other music in the park, the public address announcer, and the scoreboard operator. An umpire may warn or remove the violator, but are instructed to use common sense and communicate with game management.
If you do your job as music operator, the players will hear the music that motivates them… the fans will enjoy the game, plan to come back again… and that will keep management happy. Remember, there are hits and there are baseball stadium hits. Play the baseball stadium hits. You’ll bat a thousand every game.
Tom Richards is the Production Director / Digital Services / Air Personality / Graphic Design for Hall Radio including FUN 101.3 FM and ESPN Radio 92.5/92.7 and has been the Music Director for Lancaster Barnstormers for 12 seasons.