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The San Diego Padres should consider marketing themselves to Catholics

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Here's an idea for the Padres:  Instead of trying to market the team to our neighbors in Tijuana, Mexico or taking the team to play exhibition games in China, the Padres should look beyond geographical boundaries and instead look to market to Catholics the world over.

When the Padres traveled to China a few years back the argument was made that if the MLB could some how get just a portion of China's 1.3 billion citizens to become baseball fans then they could sit back and watch the money roll in.  The Padres and Dodgers played an exhibition in China hoping that they could capture the first wave of fans.  A few years later it doesn't appear that the Chinese have come any closer to becoming MLB or Padres fans.

However, the Padres are much better suited to become the de facto team for the estimated 1.1 billion Catholics world wide, the 68 million in the United States and 93 million in Mexico.  With their history and namesake based on Father Junipero Serra's work building a chain of 22 missions in California, the Padres are the best positioned baseball team to claim Catholic fans.

BBC: Roman Catholics Around the World from 2005

The Americas have the lion's share of baptized Catholics, with 49.8% (approx 541 million)

Like the University of Notre Dame and Brigham Young University in collegiate sports, the Padres could reach fans outside of their geographical market and they wouldn't even need to change anything about the team except some of its marketing.

It'd be the same as the Padres branded themselves as the "Team of the Military" except they'd be targeting many more fans.

The Padres could even make some really subtle changes to interest Catholics.  For instance, they could add some stain glass windows around the park.  They could have a priest bless the waterfall at the park entrance so Catholics can bless themselves with holy water.  They could stop the Friar Mascot from acting so ridiculous and make him act Pius as he walks around the ballpark with a rosary lost in his prayers.  They could have a priest on duty during games to take confessions.  You get the idea.

Obviously the marketing shouldn't exclude any other religions just as marketing to Mexico, China and the Military doesn't exclude anybody not affiliated with them.

With religion such a explosive topic, they'd have to be very careful, but if they can pull it off they could make Padres baseball the "Team of Catholicism" and possibly one of the most popular teams in the United States or the world.