By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Though the Los Angeles Dodgers fell just one step shy of the World Series last season, they proved to be the kingpins when it came to drawing huge crowds and ruling the roost on social media.
According to figures released by Major League Baseball (MLB), Dodger Stadium was the most visited ballpark with the iconic Los Angeles franchise attracting a total of 3,743,527 fans during its 2013 campaign.
The scenic stadium at Chavez Ravine, the third oldest in MLB, was the most ‘checked-in’ sports venue in the United States in 2013 while it ranked fourth on the list of most checked-in locations overall, Facebook reported.
The team led the majors in total growth last season on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram, according to data provided by Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
“Our 2013 marketing campaign was ‘A Whole New Blue’ and it truly is,” Dodgers executive vice president and chief marketing officer Lon Rosen said in a statement released on Thursday.
“Our fans are back at Dodger Stadium and that extends across all social and digital platforms. We anticipate these numbers will continue to grow in 2014, thanks in part to the improved connectivity at Dodger Stadium.”
Talented young Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig, with his muscular home run swing and rifle arm, helped spark a surge of interest in the Dodgers from late June onwards as they won 42 of 50 games to climb from last to first place in the NL West.
However, their biggest trump card was their pitching with opposing teams having to contend with the potent one-two of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, whose earned run averages ranked among the tops in the majors during the regular season.
The Dodgers, who have won six World Series titles and 21 National League (NL) pennants, ended their 2013 campaign when they were eliminated from the playoffs by the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Six of the NL Championship Series.
Based on social interactions per post, the Dodgers ranked first in the majors when it came to engagement for each fan on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr during the 2013 season.
Nearly two million Dodger fans (1,948,182) follow Dodger players on Twitter, with reliever Brian Wilson leading the way (on 641,426).
The Dodgers, who in 1978 became the first MLB team to attract more than three million fans in a single season, have also made a habit of luring celebrities to their Los Angeles home venue, in part because of its proximity to Hollywood.
Actors Danny DeVito, Andy Garcia, Mel Brooks and Shia LaBeouf, American rapper and record producer Jay-Z, comedian George Lopez and NBA stars Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul were among those attending games last season.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)