As we have a president who receives criticism for the type of rhetoric he uses on social media, the new owner of the New York Mets appears to understand how Twitter can actually be used to engage the public in a positive manner. In an account that hadn’t been verified by twitter due to its lack of use, Steven Cohen took to social media to announce he’s buying the Mets and ask the public for their input.
“I anticipate the deal closing in the next 10 days and then it’s off and running,” Cohen tweeted. “I would love to hear your ideas to make YOUR Mets experience better.”
Cohen’s tweet has now received over 7,000 responses and his account has more than 45,000 followers as the public’s eager to give their two cents. And Cohen didn’t just send out the initial tweet’s and then ignore what folks had to say as he’s been keeping up with replies and actually engaged in conversation with fan.
Over the course of a couple days, the new owner responded to about three dozen fans on topics ranging from placing markers in the parking lot that correspond with where crucial plays happened in the old Shea Stadium (which sat on what’s now a parking lot for Citi Field) to creating some sort of loyalty program for fans who have continued supporting the team while they’re at the bottom of the NL East. This hasn’t been lost on fans and many people noted how this sharply contrasted with the team’s previous owners.
“Optically, it’s good for him,” a season ticket holder named Paul Bauer said according to the Athletic. “It’s also a cool thing to do. Seeing him reach out to the fans to solicit ideas I think is just fantastic. It’s such a change of pace from the previous ownership, who were huge fans themselves. But they just were never ready to live up to being in a major market, or even to get out of their own way.”
While only time will tell if Steven Cohen will actually keep his account actively engaging fans once the deal is finalized and the initial honeymoon phase is over, just the initial outreach is something Mets fans aren’t used to from ownership. If anything, the Wilpon family went to great lengths to be the exact opposite of transparent.
Back in 2011, for instance, Jeff Wilpon told ESPN that fans didn’t deserve to know who was buying up about $200 million worth of interest in the Mets because “some of the people don’t want to be public.” This was especially concerning for many fans because it showed a clear lack of transparency and disregard for what diehard fans arguably should know. Plus, it came at a time when the Wilpons had just lost upwards of $700 million in the Bernie Madoff scandal and rumors suggested they might not be able to hold onto the team.
On top of not being open with the public about the team’s operations, there were plenty of stories about family drama impacting the way the team was run. It wasn’t just the business operations that were being harmed either as the Wilpon family was reportedly micromanaging the team and meddling in day to day baseball operations. All of this didn’t go over well with as the team made its home in one of the biggest media markets in the entire world and fans therefore had an intensified need for information.
By immediately reaching out to fans on social media and asking for their feedback, it looks like Cohen will be a different kind of owner after he beat out groups involving J-Lo and Alex Rodriguez and another including NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to take ownership. There’s been a lot of discussion about how the $2.4 billion he paid comes along with his eagerness to move the team in a positive direction is why he was eventually able to position himself to beat out other powerful bidders. With the initial moves he’s been making, it appears as though that could prove beneficial and Steven Cohen might be the type of owner Mets fans have been waiting for.