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A Celebration One Hundred Years in the Making

The Green Bay Packers understand you only turn 100 once.

Scot Chartrand

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1919 Green Bay Packers team photo–via Green Bay Packers

Five years ago, a committee was formed and slowly began work on a unique project for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.

The Packers are different from other organizations across the NFL and in American sports in that they are community-owned. They are driven from the ground up.

That same approach was applied to this committee as they attempted to brainstorm and gather ideas for a very important effort.

The committee reached out to Facilities. They reached out to Human Resources. They reached out to staff at the 1919 Kitchen & Tap—the team’s restaurant on-site at Lambeau Field. They reached out to employees at the team’s Hall of Fame…and ultimately every department in the organization to determine what they could do for the fans.

When it was all said and done, they collected over 300 ideas across the entire club.

The committee took a familiar bottom-up approach and, in doing so, formed the foundation for the celebration of 100 Seasons of Green Bay Packers football that officially launched this past April.

Behind the Planning and Strategy

So, how do you pare down 300-plus ideas into something executable for a landmark celebration?

It’s all about having the right set of strategic goals.  The Packers had these in mind as they refined and categorized which ideas would pass through an internal tollgate to become reality.

The Packers’ 100 Seasons celebration is designed to be 80% “big events” and 20% “little things.”

“Large events and small tactics,” were the driver according to Joan Malcheski, the Green Bay Packers’ Director of Brand and Marketing.

The team also considered how efforts would be implemented in terms of impact and reach to respective groups of fans at a local, state, national, and even international level while emphasizing the team’s place in history.

So, ideas were validated against potential audiences such as season ticket holders, waitlist members, team sponsors, media groups, adults, children, etc…

Weighing what the celebration would look like, the goal was to implement as much as they could to benefit the most diverse cross-section of fans.

Not everyone would be able to travel to Lambeau Field after all…

So, when do you celebrate and how do you recognize such a momentous achievement?

The answer became an extensive, 16-month celebration starting this year that would last through the 100th season, culminating in the 100th anniversary of the franchise in August 2019.  The elongated timing would allow for the events to extend well beyond Green Bay.

In a league where many team rebrands take two to three years to plan, a team that has had little reason to change anything about their identity, invested more time in a celebration a century in the making.

“YOTOHO—You Only Turn One Hundred Once!”

That was the motto at Lambeau Field for those planning the 100 Seasons celebration, as they brought their many ideas together to make the most of the historic anniversary.

100 Seasons patch on a Green Bay Packers jersey–photo via Green Bay Packers

At the centerpiece of the festivities is the team’s custom-designed 100 Seasons logo.

Malcheski shared that the 100 Seasons logo was actually developed years ago as part of the long planning process.

“The layout of the logo, how it looks on the field, how the patch fits on a jersey–there was a lot of time and input on this.”

Lambeau Field Live artist’s rendering–photo via Green Bay Packers

Celebrating with Large Events

“We’re taking Lambeau Field on a road trip!”

According to Malcheski, Lambeau Field Live presented by Associated Bank “takes what’s great about Lambeau Field, scales it down, and brings it to the people.”

The team is bringing the Lambeau Field experience around the state, bringing along part of their Hall of Fame (including artifacts) and even tour guides and a team historian to ramp up the experience that targets key milestones in the Wisconsin summer.

Five venues were chosen to host the roadshow:

  • Summerfest (Milwaukee)
  • Northern Wisconsin State Fair (Chippewa Falls)
  • EAA AirVenture (Oshkosh)
  • Wisconsin State Fair (West Allis in suburban Milwaukee)
  • Taste of Madison

Lambeau Field Live aerial view artist’s rendering–photo via Green Bay Packers

The free exhibit will add to the excitement not just this summer for Packers fans—but also next year’s in 2019 as it will travel to each event in successive years.

Interactive opportunities will include fans being able to run through the players’ tunnel and perform the Lambeau Leap through virtual reality experiences presented by Patrick Cudahy.

The NFL venture of Play 60 Kids will feature additional opportunities for kids at Lambeau Field Live, and fans of all ages will have the chance to run drills as part of the roadshow.

Fans also can sign up for a Packers Pass with chances to scan to win prizes on site and take photos with alumni in an idea that was actually piloted at Packers training camp last summer.

Involvement of long-time, local sponsors like Associated Bank (the bank of the Packers since 1919) is no accident either as the team wanted to work alongside many of their partners to spread the word about 100 Seasons and engage as many fans as possible.

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Following these mid-summer events, training camp will coincide with the Packers Experience, a free, four-day, interactive festival at Lambeau Field and areas adjacent to the stadium.

Included are activities for all ages, such as USA Football kids clinics, live music, alumni appearances, and additional opportunities to win prizes and take photos through the Packers Pass. This experience also involves sponsors such as American Family Insurance, Old El Paso, and Mills Fleet Farm.

The final marquee event of 2018 will be Celebration Weekend when the season kicks off in September on Sunday Night Football against the rival Chicago Bears. There visiting alumni across the decades will headline the festivities alongside a free concert provided for fans.

Engaging with Small Tactics

Fans in and around Green Bay can experience some of these small tactics already as they may notice parking lot banners heralding 100 Seasons, signage at Green Bay-Austin Straubel International Airport, and even bus wrap graphics in town.

Speaking of small, the team went as far as considering a postage stamp, but Joan Malcheski shared that the team was surprised to find out that their advance timing was still too late!

One small-sized tactic that the team had a little more control over became new business cards for Packers employees.  In addition to the 100 Seasons logo, they all feature unique historical facts on the back!

For those not in Northeast Wisconsin, the multi-faceted strategy already has an opportunity underway for you.

With 100 Days of Giveaways presented by Tombstone, fans all over the globe have a chance to enter daily online and win prizes through mid-July including tickets, team shop gift cards, 100 Seasons gear, and even $500 travel vouchers for more distant fans to make their way to Wisconsin for the celebration.

As these giveaways are in full swing, the Packers will then release the 100 Seasons micro-site on June 1st including tease videos for upcoming festivities.

Events will come and go, but the team wanted to explore legacy items to cement the impact of the milestone.

Decade by decade, exploring lore vs. fact, the team is releasing “Legacy,” a documentary film series and publication to mark the anniversary.

Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers, is a 10-part documentary series featuring one- or two-hour films with each one dedicated to a decade of the team’s history. It features never before seen footage and also interviews with past and current players, coaches and commissioners of the NFL.

The documentary is currently in production in a partnership with a local agency, KHROME, and a full release of the 10-part series scheduled for fall of 2019.

The series will be previewed later in the year at Lambeau Field Live and the Packers Experience with portions to be shown on the team website and in-stadium during the season. Malcheski shared that the team is also considering the release of a DVD set of the documentary down the road as well.

The other Legacy item slated for 2019 is the publication of a 100 Seasons book that will present a comprehensive written history of the franchise.

 

100 Seasons logo–via Green Bay Packers

“…and Counting”

The motto of 100 Seasons carries the extended tagline of “100 Seasons…and Counting” for the Packers Organization.

From a founding on August 11, 1919 in the old Green Bay Press-Gazette building on Cherry Street to today, the Packers’ history has inspired generations of fans, and the team wants to preserve and grow this legacy going forward.

After all, how many teams pre-date the league they’re in?  The NFL was founded in an auto showroom in Canton, Ohio on August 20, 1920—about a year later than the Packers.

Part of the look forward was a focus on future supporters of the team–making sure many of the events held would be beneficial for kids as the next generation of Packers fans.

You can see that evidenced in many of the activities at Lambeau Field Live as travels around the state to so many staples of Packer fans’ childhoods.  The aforementioned Play 60 Kids and USA Football clinics assure that the experience is hands-on.

Finally, with another nod to the future, one idea tossed around internally that Malcheski shared was a possible budget to capture and preserve history in-house going forward (such as interviewing staff to capture their perspective in the years ahead).

After all, this is just the first century.

You don’t turn one hundred overnight, and for the Green Bay Packers, celebrating the milestone is no small achievement, either!

Through a unique approach of involving the entire organization, attempting to impact fans and stakeholders at every level, and using tactics both big and small, the team hopes to create memories as a legacy that will last long beyond the 100-year milestone into the next century of Packers football.

Scot Chartrand is a contributor with Front Office Sports and has worked in program management driving strategic initiatives at a corporate level. He has a passion for helping clients and corporate stakeholders achieve strategic goals while providing change management and optimizing process that drives repeatable results.

Marketing

NHL Keeps Running On Dunkin’ With New Deal

Dunkin’ became an NHL league-level sponsor in 2017, which was the company’s first-ever national sports league partnership.

Ian Thomas

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NHL Dunkin' Deal
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Dunkin’ has signed a multi-year extension of its deal with the NHL, continuing its position as the official coffee, donut and breakfast sandwich of the league in the U.S.

The deal, expected to be announced tonight prior to game five of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston, marks the twelfth major partner that the NHL has signed or renewed its deal with in recent months.

Dunkin’ became an NHL league-level sponsor in 2017, which was the company’s first-ever national sports league partnership. Over the course of the last two seasons, the partnership has seen Dunkin’ become one of the NHL’s most active corporate sponsors in terms of its presence at major NHL events, partnerships with local teams, marketing campaigns and other fan-facing efforts.

READ MORE: Following NBA’s Lead, NHL Taps Massive Chinese Market for Fans

NHL Group Vice President of Partnership Marketing Evin Dobson said that since becoming a sponsor, Dunkin’ has ranked at the top or in the top three of the league’s internal metrics regarding fan awareness or engagement of its partners.

Dunkin’ has been front and center this Stanley Cup Final as well, as its national advertising campaign starring Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak has been heavily featured during NBC’s television coverage of the playoffs. The campaign was created by BBDO Worldwide, which was named Dunkin’s new agency of record in April 2018.

“When you have an advertising campaign that even the broadcast talent is talking about on-air, you know you’re creating great fan engagement with what you’re doing,” Dobson said.

Tom Manchester, Dunkin’ U.S. senior vice president of integrated marketing, said much of the deal with the league will be similar to how its current deal is structured – it will continue to hold exclusive rights in those U.S. categories, it will activate around the partnership at NHL league events and it will have a presence across broadcast, digital and social media channels throughout the season, which includes a multi-million dollar partnership with NBC Sports for custom in-game features during games. Dunkin’ will also activate alongside the NHL’s esports tournament, the NHL Gaming World Championship, which will hold its final in Las Vegas later this month.

However, the new deal will see Dunkin’ adding two new local team partnerships in the deal, with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Vegas Golden Knights. Dunkin’ now has 15 NHL team-level deals.

READ MORE: NHL Turns to Corner Ice Placements to Grow On-Ice Ad Revenue

Dunkin’ will also launch a new activation around the league deal ahead of next season, Manchester said, declining to comment further as those plans have only just started.

“Over these last two years, the idea that coffee and espresso is a big part of the hockey world and hockey family’s lives has only been reinforced for us,” Manchester said.

Dunkin’s NHL deal also serves as “the centerpiece” of that outreach to hockey families, Manchester said.

In addition to its league-level NHL deal in 2017, Dunkin’ has also made additional investments into hockey, signing a deal with USA Hockey in 2016 as well as the NWHL in 2015, becoming the women’s league first corporate sponsor.

While both of those deals have since lapsed, Manchester said that on the NWHL front, the company is in talks with the league about renewing it. He noted that Dunkin’ views “women’s hockey as just as important as men’s.”

However, Dunkin’ is not planning on more broadly renewing its partnership with the U.S. governing body. Manchester said that while Dunkin’ had activated heavily around the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team and players like Meghan Duggan during the 2018 Winter Olympics, it had nothing in place with USA Hockey at the moment – although he said Dunkin’ could potentially do something around the team or its players heading into the next Olympic cycle in 2022.

Both Dobson and Manchester declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, other to say the multi-year deal’s investment level is in line with the previous deal. Fenway Sports Management, who is Dunkin’s sports marketing agency of record, negotiated the deal on behalf of the company.

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Concacaf Unveils First-Ever Women’s Soccer Plan

In August, Concacaf appointed its first-ever head of women’s football – former Canadian women’s national team player Karina LeBlanc.

Ian Thomas

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women's soccer
Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of the start of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Concacaf has rolled out its first-ever strategic plan to grow and develop the game of women’s soccer.

In August, the confederation appointed its first-ever head of women’s football – former Canadian women’s national team player Karina LeBlanc.

LeBlanc, who presented the plan in Paris this week to all confederation’s 41 members that includes all of the soccer federations across North and Central America and the Caribbean, said that even with two of the top five ranked women’s soccer teams globally coming from this region in the U.S. and Canadian national teams, there is still an opportunity to do even better.

“The mission we’ve set out on is to improve the lives of women and girls throughout our region through the sport,” LeBlanc said. “We need to change perceptions, grow participation and build a sustainable foundation so that we can do just that.”

Concacaf has designed its strategy to grow the sport of women’s soccer around three main pillars – communicating the importance of women’s soccer and advocating for key issues affecting women, development of the sport and creating pathways to develop and empower players both on and off the field, and through commercial means that will build a self-sustainable growth model for the sport.

LeBlanc said Concacaf’s vision for growing the game somewhat mirrors FIFA’s, who launched its own first-ever global strategy for women’s soccer in October. FIFA is holding a two-day women’s soccer summit in Paris, featuring executives and federation officials from across the globe aiming to “make the most of this new era of women’s football,” which FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in his opening remarks at the summit on Wednesday morning.

Other goals for 2019 set by Concacaf include leveraging the hopeful success of the region’s national teams at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, creating a women’s coaching mentorship program and develop a commercial strategy around the confederation’s women’s soccer brand, which is called Concacaf W.

“We believe we can hit some of these targets very quickly, but it was important to create something like this plan so that everyone is on the same page,” LeBlanc said. “We all agree it is critical that we create growth and opportunity for women in the sport.”

LeBlanc said some of the long term goals include creating new women’s soccer competitions across the region, assisting in the creation of women’s soccer-specific digital and social channels for all the federations to help inspire fans, and encouraging the launch of more women’s clubs across the region.

READ MORE: Budweiser Signs On as Presenting Partner of Women’s International Champions Cup

“From our standpoint, we are looking at ways to influence clubs to take a leap of faith and if they already have a men’s team, to also have a women’s team,” LeBlanc said. “Our goal is to change the mindset that women’s football is just a cause.

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MLSPA and REP Worldwide Teaming Up to Promote MLS Players

The Major League Soccer Players Association has taken back control of the MLS players’ group licensing rights from the league, signing a new agreement with REP Worldwide to serve as the exclusive partner and strategic advisor for those rights.

Ian Thomas

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MLS players group licensing rights
Photo Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Major League Soccer Players Association has taken back control of the MLS players’ group licensing rights from the league, according to industry sources, signing a new agreement with REP Worldwide to serve as the exclusive partner and strategic advisor for those rights.

The PA had reclaimed those group licensing rights in the league’s first CBA in 2004, but had since licensed them back directly to the league. In the past, MLS has marketed the rights for both the league and the PA, with proceeds of licensing deals split on a percentage basis that varied by category. Now – the PA will take a more direct management in the marketing and administration of those rights, with REP Worldwide as its exclusive partner and advisor.

REP Worldwide – an acronym for Representing Every Player – was launched in 2017 as a first-of-its-kind group licensing representation business offering licensing and brand management services to athlete-driven sports properties. The NFLPA is the majority shareholder of the company, working in collaboration with its founding partners the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA).

This new partnership will see REP Worldwide structure and manage MLSPA licensing partnerships on behalf of the MLS player pool across categories that include digital, apparel, experiential and hard goods, which typically includes things like toys and sports equipment. those MLS group licensing rights cover instances where four or more players appear on a single product or within a brand or product line. That can include the usage of their names, numbers and likenesses, but not team names or logos – rights held by the league.

READ MORE: Budweiser Signs On as Presenting Partner of Women’s International Champions Cup

The aim for the MLSPA is that this new arrangement will not only open new revenue for the MLS player pool, but also serve as a brand builder for all of the players, collectively and individually.

All of the other player associations in the major North American professional sports have control over their group licensing rights, with the NBPA being the last to do so in 2017.

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