Houston Astros: Four steps for team to build their brand post-scandal

Dusty Baker Jr. of the Houston Astros. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Dusty Baker Jr. of the Houston Astros. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Houston Astros
Radio announcer Steve Sparks of the Houston Astros (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Following the scandal that rocked the baseball world, how can the Houston Astros build their brand? Read on for four unique suggestions they can undertake.

The Houston Astros’ brand has undoubtedly endured one its toughest off-seasons. In the last eight months, the franchise experienced defeat in game seven of the World Series after relinquishing an early lead, lost the elite pitching services of Gerrit Cole, and served as the focal point of one the largest baseball scandals in recent history.

All of the vitriol the franchise has faced in light of the scandal—deserved or otherwise—has negatively affected the team’s brand equity. Another way to phrase this concept is that bad decisions damage brands and decrease consumers’ trust, resulting in negative brand equity.

That’s not to say with one hundred percent certainty that the Houston Astros will lose financial value the next time the franchise receives a formal appraisal. However, according to Forbes, in the Houston Astros’ case, their brand already represents less than 13 percent of the franchise’s total worth.

In comparison, the Astros’ brand, appraised at $234 million, represents merely 27 percent of the value of the Yankees’ brand, which accounts for more than $850 million. Naturally, this leads to the question—what can the Astros do off the field to step up their branding and increase in value?

Step 1: Enhancing fan accessibility via FM radio

What good is a poor AM radio signal if you are in a low-rise, high-rise, or even a skyscraper? According to a prominent architecture website, the city of Houston features over 3,000 such buildings, combined. Meanwhile, FM radio, known for its superior audio quality, broadcasts radio waves that do not distort within buildings featuring multiple stories.

If you ever are in Austin during an Astros’ broadcast, listen on the Astros’ FM radio affiliate in that market to the quality of Robert Ford’s and Steve Sparks’ voices in a way that AM radio just not do justice to on the flagship station in Houston. Both Ford and Sparks possess vocal talent that shines anew on FM.

Sure—AM radio features a vintage sound experience that some Astros fans might consider indispensable after decades of Milo Hamilton’s golden voice. But in 2020, to reach more potential customers in a global city bustling with buildings, the Astros should at the very least be simulcasting games on both AM and FM radio stations.