The New Champions Anthem ⚾

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Last week, MLB concluded a remarkable season with a new champion.

At the beginning of the season, MLB made some changes that performed very well for the game, including the addition of a pitch clock and larger bases. According to ESPN, game time is down while all the things that make baseball fun are up. Batting average was up six points from 2022, batting average on balls in play was up seven points to .297, and on-base percentage was up eight points to .320. We also saw an increase in runs per game and stolen base attempts, while average attendance jumped a whopping 9.15%, the biggest one-year increase across the league in 30 years.

The World Series, too, was phenomenal. Yes it didn’t rate that well but it was certainly an epic story for the sport. The Texas Rangers were crowned world champs for the first time in franchise history. The Rangers were not expected to go that far and it was an exciting playoffs all around.

The unsung (or, perhaps, widely sung) hero of the World Series, however, was the oft-maligned band, Creed. That’s right, the Rangers have been cranking Creed before games, a ritual that began at some point in the second half of the season. As the team was going through a bit of a slump, the Creed smash, “Higher,” found itself at the center of locker room morale.

Over the summer, I read a great book about ‘exponential potential’ called Bending Reality. There’s something so powerful about rituals and superstitions. They create an energy inside of you that is expansive and contagious. The locker room ritual of listening to “Higher” is a great example.

Pitcher, Andrew Heaney, talked about the song earlier this week, noting that when the Astros overtook them in the American League West standings, the Rangers started “having fun and playing Creed before games.” Explaining further, he said, “it was just a random thing that everybody started singing to one day, and it’s kind of built on itself.” The Rangers’ first home playoff game provided the perfect opportunity for the team to bring the fans in on the action. After a three-run blast from Adolis García gave the Rangers a 6-0 lead, the 40,000-plus in attendance got a special surprise. As the song blared through the stadium speakers, it went from being the players’ anthem to being the fans’ anthem as well. Picking the right motivational song can have a huge impact. It’s typically most effective when it comes about organically as “Higher” did, and it’s really fun to see how this song has found a new place in pop culture.

Creed’s team noticed the lift and were smart enough to jump on it. The band tapped in, too. They showed up to the World Series and announced a massive 2024 reunion tour, their first in over a decade. For frontman Scott Stapp, who’s had a rocky road since the band’s initial peak, it felt so, so sweet.

Creed saw a spike in Spotify activity and released a ‘stadium anthems playlist’ of their classic hits to better connect their old catalog to the songs being boosted by the new wave. Not missing an opportunity to intelligently brand, they made the playlist cover the Texas Rangers logo.

Talk about an amazing cultural moment for music and sports. We will be covering this in depth next week in our Stat of The Week section done in conjunction with Chartmetric and Clayton Durant. In the meantime, check out this week’s case study of the campaign that Sephora did with emerging artists and music.

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Also published on Medium.