How Media Measurement Helped the Nationals Win in the Stands

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As MLB kicks off its highly anticipated 151st season after delays due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are on the edge of our seats to cheer on the Washington Nationals as they prepare for their 2020 title defense. While the players won this game on the field, the fans helped bring the energy that catapulted our team to their first world series since moving to Washington D.C. in 2005.

Not long before they were champions, the Nationals, much like other teams in the MLB, had to face a stark reality – MLB attendance was declining. In order to combat this trend, the Nationals utilized a complex ecosystem of paid, owned, and earned media to drive single-game ticket sales. In addition to their own media (called cash), the MLB invests in media (called trade) to drive baseball attendance across all MLB clubs. However, the Nationals realized that they needed a tool to better measure the effectiveness of all cash and trade media, so they could optimize their marketing spend and increase single-game ticket sales and ballgame attendance.

How we helped

The Washington Nationals partnered with Edelman Intelligence to build a custom media measurement and forecasting solution called CM3. The CM3 solution involved building a predictive model that leveraged three years of data, including all online and offline media, ticket sales data, and external factors such as weather and team performance. CM3 even controlled for divisional and important games, so the model wouldn’t wrongfully attribute sales to media, when everyone would have come out anyway to see the Nationals beat the Mets! This solution provided the team with key insights on what the main factors were in driving their media – including channel – and campaign-level impacts on sales for both cash and trade media. What’s more, by factoring in spend, CM3 was able to get channel-level ROIs to see which media channels were most effective.

Our solution not only provided a historical view on the impact of media investments, but also an optimization tool that allowed the Nationals to forecast how future media investments would impact sales. Some of the key recommendations that stemmed from the CM3 optimization tool included increasing local TV investments in trade media, shifting cash media investments towards display and search, and decreasing total investments in radio and OOH.

The results

 By leveraging the model’s optimal media mix, the Nationals were able to increase single-game ticket sales by up to 54% without increasing their marketing budget. As a result, the Nationals have continued to partner with us to develop dashboards for key marketing information, allowing decision makers to have all the data they need in a visually compelling and easy to understand format. The optimized marketing spend across cash and trade investments, coupled with the dashboards and the team’s winning play, will keep fans coming to the stadium game after game.

As we look ahead to the 2020 season, we wish our partners the best of luck in claiming another world series title, with a winning fanbase cheering virtually at every single game.


Interested in learning more about this solution or how Edelman Intelligence can help your business analyze its marketing and communications investments? Drop us a note HERE or email us at


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