Baltimore Orioles: Do ballparks need all the bells and whistles?

The Baltimore Orioles play in the best ballpark in baseball – perhaps in sports. Oriole Park at Camden Yards of course is known as The Ballpark that Forever Changed Baseball. And that’s a fact, as the Orioles literally trademarked that phrase. However are the Orioles and perhaps numerous other franchises doing things (or perhaps NOT doing things) which are hurting their attendance numbers?

In listening to sports talk radio this week, I heard a segment whereby the hosts were saying that perhaps one of the reasons that fans leave Maryland football games early is due to the fact that some of the bells and whistles of modern technology aren’t found in the stadium. Specifically, this of course speaks to millenials, as that conversation surrounded college students. Anyone that knows me knows that I work my “twitter machine” during Orioles games – but that’s due to the fact that I’m live-tweeting game highlights.

A lot of younger fans simply must have access to their social media accounts at all times. And I’m not saying that in a derogatory manner, I’m saying it as a matter of fact. Heck, I’ve even had people tell me that I’m living a lie based on something I may have said on Facebook or Twitter, and what reality truly is. Because if it’s posted on social media it must be true – right?

Oriole Park at Camden Yards doesn’t have wifi, nor does it have features such as device-charging stations or social media lounges. It’s a ballpark; with the exception of a few attractions such as the Orioles’ Hall of Fame, Dempsey’s Brew Pub, and some interactive aspects such as a jungle-gym for kids, what you see is what you get. And I would submit that’s how it should be.

But I come from a different generation than do the young adults of today. Many of them can’t find it within them to show up for a game – and just for a game. They need wifi to check their fantasy stats, post on Instagram, and check their Facebook feeds. Furthermore they need to be able to post on Snapchat so as to let the world know that they’re at the game.

And the fact is that people’s attention spans are very short now. Fans don’t go to the game trying to strategize and figure out what the team’s going to do next. Perhaps some do that for a bit, but as soon as a new Instagram post from a friend pops up they’re sidetracked.

Whether or not the Orioles should upgrade some aspects of the gameday experience remains to be seen. I would submit that if you make it easier for fans to surf the internet during games, you’ll start seeing more and more people getting hit with foul balls. There’s already wifi in the pressbox – having it in the seating bowl also might not be the worst idea ever. After all, Millenials don’t like to be told NO!

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