The Entertainment Value of The Green Man - A Sports Icon

In October 2009, Toby Mergler of ESPN wrote a terrific piece entitled "How The Sporting World Has Gone Green Man". Since then, the Green Man has emerged as an iconic figure in the sports space, popping up at professional, college, and high school sporting events across the nation.

As noted in Mergler's piece, the origins of the Green Man began when a friend of Rob McElhenney, the star and creator of the hit TV show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" decided to celebrate a memorable Philadelphia Eagles victory over the Dallas Cowboys in 2006 by stripping off his clothes to donn a full-body green spandex leotard. McElhenney loved the idea so much that he encouraged producers of the show to include it in an episode the next season and it happened... and the rest is history.

While the Green Man has traditionally served as a great representation for fans at sporting events, sports marketers are beginning to fully comprehend the value of the Green Man as an iconic figure who can deliver pure entertainment gameday value.

Check out some unique ways that sports organizations are leveraging the Green Man across the country:







But while the Green Man may receive many fan-friendly perks on game day, he/she has to be ready to handle pain, rejection, and ejection. Check out three (3) of the lowest moments in Green Man history:




Use the Penalty Box to Promote Green Initiatives

Is your hockey organization looking for new ways to "go green" on game day? Are you looking for new ways to promote partners who support green initiatives during the game?

A pair of green men have become local legends at Vancouver Canucks games after being shown on CBC television taunting players from opposing teams seated in the penalty box. When opposing players are forced into the box, the "green guys" come up with creative ways to distract the players and attract the attention of fans seated throughout the arena. The Canucks' "green guys" have established an official Facebook page that has generated 14,000+ followers and features a collection of pictures, videos, and fan discussions. 

It is hard to depict whether the "green guys" initiative is a team-run initiative (if so, it's becoming a tremendous ploy to drive fan excitement), but whoever is behind the stunt is doing a tremendous job attracting a loyal following. 

If league rules permit, other hockey organizations (from all levels) should consider turning the penalty box into a "green experience":

  • A team partner that supports green initiatives can feature "green-specific" signage in the box, brand two (2) green men seated adjacent to the box (who are there to drive attention to the cause), and distribute green vouchers/giveaways to select sections any time an opposing player is put in the penalty box ... A cheap, creative way to drive awareness for green initiatives!

Check out the Vancouver Canucks' "green guys" in action below:

The Green Man Delivers for HP and Warsaw

Keith Becker, UOSportsDude.comAre you looking for new icons to leverage at sporting events? Are you looking for new ways to drive awareness in a cluttered stadium environment?

In 2009, Two (2) Warsaw Sports Marketing Center students - Steven Strand and Daniel Cogan - were hired by a New York-based agency called Mr. Youth to serve as brand ambassadors for Hewlett Packard on the University of Oregon's campus. The role tasked the two (2) students with creating a captivating marketing campaign that effectively drove awareness for the HP brand on campus.

Strand and Cogan put their sports marketing expertise to work by identifying The Oregon Green Man as an icon on campus that they could leverage without having to purchase official marketing rights (HP is not an Official Sponsor of the University of Oregon Athletics Department) to drive awareness. The two (2) parties collaborated to create an exclusive HP tailgate prior to the team's home game versus Arizona State that featured an appearance by The Oregon Green Man.

To drive awareness for the event, The Oregon Green Man posted several updates on his Facebook account (with 3,000 followers), attracting the attention of the Oregon Daily Emerald, a student-run newspaper. The tailgate attracted 300+ students who visited the tailgate for a chance to have their picture with The Oregon Green man and check out the new HP computers on display. The Green Man also placed HP stickers on his "green suit" which was picked up several times on ESPN and DuckVision during the game (driving thousands of valuable impressions for the brand).

The initiative serves as a great example of the ways top sports graduate programs can drive value for brands and sports organizations. Check back for more related examples of this!