Alumna applies digital skills to increase attendance at professional baseball games
by Mary Denny
Katie Davison would like to take everyone out to the ball game. Well, not everyone, but she does want to increase attendance at Minor League Baseball games and events by about eight million people to reach 50 million in attendance by 2026. That’s a lot of peanuts and crackerjacks and a mighty tall order, but one that has her “incredibly excited about the future.”
As senior vice president of digital strategy and business development for Minor League Baseball, she knows that digital, mobile, and social platforms will play a crucial role in reaching that goal. Her role includes leading those digital platforms to create the right environment in which to foster attendance growth and fan engagement.
The inspiration for Katie’s career in digital marketing came from Trinity business administration professor Charlene Davis, who “lit the spark and opened my eyes to what marketing really meant: much more than dreaming up catchy slogans and producing fancy TV commercials.” Much of Katie’s work is ultimately rooted in marketing and designing around consumer and fan behavior—the fundamentals of which she learned at Trinity. She also credits two influential political science professors, Tucker Gibson and David Crockett, with teaching her critical thinking, a life-long skill that has served her well and inspired her to add political science as a second major.
No stranger to hard and hands-on work, Katie grew up on a small farm in Oregon on land that had been in the family for generations. “I was raised to roll up my sleeves and make a measurable impact,” she explains. Although she ultimately chose a different career path than agriculture, she says, “Those same skills I was taught at a young age have aided me in a career where you simply must get involved to understand this rapidly changing business.”
Although San Antonio, its culture, and “especially the climate” initially came as “quite a shock for a kid from a farming community in Oregon,” Katie stayed in the Alamo City after graduation and began her career with Gray Digital Group. A move to New York led to her involvement in the sports industry and included stints with the Madison Square Garden Company and later Learfield Sports, a diverse media enterprise anchored by a core collegiate business managing multimedia rights and sponsorship initiatives for nearly 130 institutions, conferences and arenas nationwide.
She joined Minor League Baseball in August and says, “I truly am living the dream. I’m honored to be part of this amazing organization and able to work in the world of sports.” To Katie, sport is much more than entertainment. “It’s about community,” she says, “both on and off the field of play. Working in an industry that so many people are passionate about is incredibly rewarding.”
That passion is shared by her “amazing husband,” John Davison, and their six-year-old son Peyton, an aspiring professional baseball player. Not surprisingly, the couple spends a lot of time supporting youth sports in their community of Frisco, Texas.
Self-described as “a creator at heart,” Katie enjoys creating through art, crafts, cooking, and the like and says the opportunity for creativity has been the draw to digital for her. “Starting in this business before the explosion of mobile and social, before apps and personalized shopping, back when not all businesses even had a website, I’ve had an amazing opportunity to grow, learn, and contribute throughout my career,” she says. “This industry has allowed me to balance my day between the logical, analytical side of running a business and the opportunity to imagine, design, test, and build that creating brings. I feel so blessed to have found a career that nourishes me in this way.”
You can contact Katie at kdavison [at] milb.com.