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Savannah Bananas Says Putting Customers First is a Game Changer

How The Savannah Bananas is Changing Baseball through Fan Focus, Creativity, and CX

Shep Hyken interviews Jesse Cole, founder of Fans First Entertainment and owner of the Savannah Bananas. He talks about how he redefined baseball and customer and employee experience by creating a culture that puts them first.

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Top Takeaways:

  • The Savannah Bananas sells out every game, with a waitlist of 550,000 for tickets. There are 3,000 people joining the waitlist every day. They have 4,000,000 more followers on social media than any Major League Baseball team.
  • The best inspiration happens from what people are doing wrong. Ask what the biggest friction points in your customers’ experiences are. Then, do the opposite. The Savannah Bananas took the biggest friction points in a baseball game and changed the rules. For example, a typical baseball game can run for over 3 hours. In Banana Ball, each game lasts no more than 2 hours.
  • Learn from outside your industry and bring that into your organization. Look at the companies you love and why you love them. Identify what you love about those companies that you can start doing with your team.
  • If everyone in your business makes the customers the stars and gives them the red carpet treatment, you make those customers feel like a million bucks. It changes everything for the customer, and your employees will have more purpose and pride in their work.
  • Ideas are the future. Work your idea muscle like you work out your regular muscles. Write down a few ideas every day, get together with your team, and share them. You’ll get more energy, inspiration, and purpose out of ideas.
  • Plus, Jesse shares some incredible fan-first moments from their tour. Tune in!


“Imagine what the best possible customer experience is and do that. Don’t settle for the way things have been done before.”

“Everyone talks about recruiting great talent. Don’t recruit, attract great talent. Build a culture that people want to be a part of. It’s the culture that keeps people.”

“Be patient in what you want for yourself, but be impatient about how much you give to others.”


Jesse Cole is the founder of Fans First Entertainment and the owner of the Savannah Bananas. He is the author of Fans First: Change The Game, Break the Rules & Create an Unforgettable Experience, Find Your Yellow Tux: How to Be Successful by Standing Out, and Banana Ball: The Unbelievably True Story of the Savannah Bananas.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions and more:

  1. What is a customer-first culture?
  2. How can organizations attract and retain talent?
  3. What is idea creation in entrepreneurship?
  4. What is the fan-focused movement?
  5. How does a fan-focused strategy impact brand reputation?

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