Manchester City and Jaguar Team Up for An Entertaining Halftime Promotion

Manchester City FC recently teamed up with Jaguar to create a pretty thrilling form of halftime entertainment for fans to enjoy that can be replicated in most other major professional sports.

The game, called Boot the Boot, tasks select fans with attempting to kick soccer balls from a distance into the trunk of a Jaguar that is parked within the corner tunnels of Etihad Stadium at the playing level (a trunk is commonly referred to as a boot in Europe). The promotion is perfectly suited for in-game entertainment because it adds a level of excitement while seamlessly integrating the Jaguar brand into the experience.

A similar promotion can be replicated in several additional sports, including:

1. Baseball - MLB/MiLB teams can task fans with throwing a baseball from 2nd base (or the outfield) into the trunk of a car (one-hopping it along the way)

2. Basketball - Teams can task fans with trying to throw a full-court pass into the trunk of a car for the chance to win free parking for a section of fans at the game

3. Tennis - Tennis officials can task fans with trying to hit 5 of 10 tennis balls into the trunk of an automobile located at courtside for the chance to win a free lease for a year

4. Football - Teams can ask fans to attempt to throw a 30-40 yard pass into the trunk of a car (located along the sidelines) for the chance to win a free lease for a year

Check out the MCFC-Jaguar "Boot the Boot" promotion below and consider new ways that your organization can integrate automobile partners in a fun, memorable way for fans!

Wendy's Lets CFL Fans Compete to Kick for a Million Dollars

Over the past seven years, Wendy's has captured the interests and attention of millions of football fans throughout Canada by offering a Kick for a Million promotional platform that rewards CFL fans for eating at its chain locations.

The QSR chain leverages its status as an official partner of the Canadian Football League as well as a media partnership with TSN to feature a live halftime promotional contest that offers one lucky fan a chance to kick a 50-yard field goal for the chance to win $1 million. In addition, Wendy's grants the participant an opportunity to also attempt field goals from 20, 30, and 40 yards for the chance to also win a Samsung $25,000 Family Package, a 2011 Nissan Titan Crew Cab Pro, and $100,000 cash.

Fans can participate in the Kick to Win contest by visiting participating Wendy's locations throughout Canada to receive a game cup that offers a chance to win a variety of instant prizes, including Nissan automobiles, Samsung Galaxy tablets, Reebok merchandise, and Wendy's gift cards and food prizes. Fans who purchase Wendy's on a regular basis can also receive bonus entries for the chance to kick for $1 million.

The structure of the promotion, offering a series of lower-tier prizes, demonstrates how league partners can collaborate to amplify promotional events - both in-stadium and at retail. In total, Wendy's Kick for a Million contest generated 18 million entries - the most ever in the history of the contest. Wendy's has even attracted 11,000+ fans to "like" the promotion's official Facebook page.

Check out Wendy's Kick for a Million promotional video below:

Check out Wendy's Kick for a Million contest execution here:

A special thanks to Kelsey Philpott of GMR Marketing for his insights and contributions to this column!

UNM Athletics Turns to A Giant Pencil to Drive Fan Engagement

Sports properties looking for new ways to engage office supply partners (e.g. Office Depot, Office Max, etc.) should take a close look at the following promotion executed by Lobos Sports Properties at a recent University of New Mexico home basketball game.

Lobos Sports Properties created a promotion where a blindfolded fan had to locate a giant pencil positioned on the court in a given time frame to win a grand prize. During the contest, fans had to try to guide the fan by shouting out simple instructions. The promotion is extremely simple (and commonly used in the collegiate sports space for a variety of corporate partners) but serves as an effective and engaging awareness driver, especially for a company like Midway Office Supply.

Lobos Sports Properties could consider taking the fan engagement aspect to the next level by rewarding a section with free office supplies (e.g. pack of pens per person seated in Section 108) if the fan were to locate the Giant Pencil... and possibly pens for the entire arena if he was able to locate it within the first 5 seconds.

With this promotion, it would be hard for fans to leave the arena that night and not remember the giant pencil! Check it out below:

Lobos Sports Properties has done a terrific job compiling all of its basketball arena inventory and promotions on an Official YouTube page, which can definitely be considered to be an industry best practice. Look for more college sports properties to leverage YouTube as a similar hosting platform for sponsorship inventory in the near future!

Introducing the Piano Juggler

Sports properties looking to feature new entertainment acts at their games should take a close look at The Piano Juggler - an interesting character who puts on quite a show for fans. Check out a few of his halftime performances below:

Mavericks Fans Show Off Their Dance Moves to Win a Suite

The Dallas Mavericks recently partnered with Xbox Kinect to create a Dance Central "Suite Moves" contest that allows fans to show off their best dance moves for the chances to win a catered suite for twelve (12) and a Kinect prize pack.

For a chance to win, Mavericks fans had to physically participate at the Xbox Kinect display area in the AAC concourse during two (2) Mavericks games in January. The best eight (8) performers were then selected to compete head-to-head in a pre-game Dance Central contest during the team's home game against the Atlanta Hawks on January 29th for a chance to make it to the final round and win the ultimate suite package.

Check out a video that the Mavericks created to promote the initiative to its fanbase.

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:

ON-FIELD PROMOTIONS

CROWD/SCOREBOARD ENTERTAINMENT

GAME INTEGRATION

CONCOURSE ACTIVATION/ENTERTAINMENT

"GREEN" INITIATIVES

MASCOT BATTLES


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:

PAIN

REJECTION

EJECTION

The Wizards Score a Slam Dunk with Fans...

The Washington Wizards entertained fans at a recent home game by allowing a few select fans a chance to attempt dunks off a trampoline (standard intermission entertainment). However, the team did a terrific job staging the event to the enjoyment of fans.

Check out how they did it below:

 

Which leads one to question... Dunkin' Donuts does so many great things to leverage their sports partnerships, particularly in Boston, but why have they not sponsored the "Dunkin' Donuts" ... a group of regular fans, out-of-shape fans, or acrobatics dressed in donut costumes (or as munchkins) dunking off branded trampolines at halftime? It seems like a no-brainer that plenty of fans would enjoy. Teams could find ways to drive traffic to retail based on the number of dunk conversions.. Just a thought!

The Giants and Springsteen Celebrate Memories

Are you looking for new ways to commemorate the history of your organization? Are you looking to feature a memorable piece on the videoboard uring an upcoming game?

The New York Giants celebrated their final regular-season game at Giants Stadium by featuring a special video to the tune of Bruce Springsteen's hit song "Wrecking Ball" on the jumbotron. The three (3) minute clip featured countless pictures and video memories from the historic venue and honored a collection of the finest players to ever play for the Giants organization.

Check out the memorable tribute video below:

 

The Checkers Let You Check Out Their "Cribs"

Are you looking for new ways to leverage housing/realtor partners? Are you looking for ways to help build the identity of your organization's players outside of the stadium/arena? 

The ECHL's Charlotte Checkers recently promoted their partnership with the Park at Steele Creek living community by creating a humorous "Cribs" vignette that features the apartment of defenseman Ethan Graham. The 8:31 feature does a tremendous job profiling "The Official Off-Ice Home of the Charlotte Checkers" and provide fans with an inside look at the lifestyle of a minor league hockey player. It's refreshing to see teams work so closely with their players to provide unique content for fans (even if we aren't dealing with mansions and luxury automobiles behind the scenes)...

The Checkers feature the Cribs vignette along with a collection of other videos on the team's official YouTube Channel (check it out - a nice benchmark for other minor league organizations). 

Check out the Checkers' Cribs segment below:

Hats off to Thomas Smith and Patrick Stack for continuing to do some great things for the Checkers organization... keep up the great work!

Teams Strike Gold with Crossbar Challenges...

Are you looking for new ways to entertain fans at halftime? Are you looking to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for one lucky fan?

Sports organizations should consider offering more promotions that put the skills of fans to the test. This practice, seen commonly overseas in the rugby and football circuits, serves as a great way to engage all fans in attendance during halftime festivities and also provides sponsors a chance to capitalize on aligning with a memorable in-game moment.

While most organizations commonly implement halftime entertainment that tasks fans with scoring to win, most should consider ways to alter these type of promotions to challenge fans in unique ways: 

  • Football - Challenge one (1) select fan with hitting the field goal posts/crossbar
  • Hockey - Challenge one (1) select fan with trying to hit the post (instead of scoring)
  • Soccer - Challenge fans with hitting the crossbar (instead of scoring)
  • Rugby - Challenge fans with hitting the crossbar
  • Basketball - Challenge fans with banking a shot in off the glass

Here are two (2) great examples of Crossbar Challenges serving as a highlight at games played overseas:

Rugby

During a recent English rugby match, one lucky fan took home 250,000 euros after successfully hitting the crossbar with a punt (while not wearing shows) during a halftime Crossbar Challenge event. The winner, rugby fan Stuart Tanner, became an instant household name after coverage of the promotion was picked up by several major media outlets. See the stunt below:

Soccer

EPL club Stoke City recently held a halftime Crossbar Challenge at Britannia Stadium featuring a collection of team mascots and boxers Ricky Hatton and Scott Lawton. One contestant electrified the crowd by hitting the crossbar. 

The Crossbar Challenge also serves as a tremendous feature to include in media broadcasts of soccer matches (as seen by the Leyton Orient team challenge below):