Winter 2012 Partnership Activation Newsletter

Welcome to the Winter 2012 Partnership Activation Newsletter! As I noted previously, I will continue to distribute the newsletter on a quarterly basis. Thanks for your continued support and I look forward to connecting with many of you soon!

Click here to purchase the Winter 2012 Partnership Activation Newsletter for $7.99. After reviewing the newsletter, please take a moment to share it with friends via email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, personal blogs, and other platforms and modes of communication. Here is a shortened URL that you can use to include in tweets, etc: 

This month's newsletter features a collection of insights, including:

  • Athlete Branding
  • 15+ Top Global Sports Business Conferences
  • Interactive Fan Technology at The Barca Museum
  • Freshwire - Sports Content Insider Tips
  • Navigate Research - Industry Spotlight
  • Chelsea Unseen: Behind-the-Scenes
  • Taylor University's Silent Night
  • adidas Kit Sponsorships
  • Laser Graffiti
  • Farmers Insurance's Love Float
  • SMU's Sport Management Graduate Program
  • Paciolan's Pinterest Page
  • Creativity in the Sports Marketplace
  • January 2013 Partnership Activation Rising Stars
  • The Milwaukee Bucks' #ShowMeYourMilwaukee Contest
  • The Washington Wizards' Cookie Challenge
  • A Close Look at the Chick-fil-A Bowl
  • 5 #SportsBiz Handles You Must Follow
  • 15+ Ways to Leverage Formal Attire Partners
  • Molson's Wake Up Call for NHL Fans 
  • Heineken's Bottle Wall
  • Partnership Activation Grab Bag
  • Idea Box

Click here to purchase the Winter 2012 Partnership Activation Newsletter, connect with other readers in the official Partnership Activation LinkedIn Group, and follow Brian Gainor on Twitter for additional sponsorship/marketing tactics throughout the month!

The University of Florida Student Ticket Office Thanks Fans for Their Loyalty

Numerous opportunities exist in the sports space for teams and corporate partners alike to reward loyal fans for their perfect attendance during a season. While most professional organizations will periodically honor fans who have been season ticket holders for 10+ years, very few go the extra mile to thank fans for their commitment on a regular basis.

The University of Florida Student Ticket Office recently thanked season ticket holders for their loyalty with a simple, yet impactful gesture that should be replicated throughout sports. Travis Leyndyke and his team in the UF Student Ticket office emailed all ticket holders who had their tickets scanned for every home game during the 2011 football season to thank them for their support.

Fan congratulatory emails can serve as a great platform to integrate corporate partners as well, as they present an opportunity to tap into the University/team's most avid fan base and sincerely acknowledge/reward them for their support. Properties can also consider creating a virtual wall on their official website that features all fans who had perfect attendance throughout the season (a platform that could be sponsored by a brand who provides an exclusive promotional discount/reward).

Check out the University of Florida's email communication below and consider new ways that your property can acknowledge fans firsthand for their support!


Modell's Uses Athletes in Disguise to Create a Hit Viral Series

Over the past few months, Modell's Sporting Goods has released a terrific viral series featuring professional athletes disguised as employees trying to sell their own jerseys.

The series kicked off in December when Modell's teamed up with Reebok to send Patriots RB Danny Woodhead to a retail location to push apparel. Standing 5-feet-9-inches tall, Woodhead served as the perfect athlete in disguise, as he went largely unnoticed and was even referred to as being "too little" by a shopper. The stunt, secretly captured on camera, became an instant hit with fans across the globe and generated 1MM+ views in a matter of days.

The second segment of the series featured prominent Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posing undercover at a Modell's location in the greater Philadelphia area. Unlike Woodhead, Jackson was recognized by several shoppers but the filmed publicity stunt still managed to generate a significant amount of traction online with 108K+ views on YouTube. 

After producing two (2) viral hits, Modell's continued the series in February by sending New York Knicks rookie guard Landry Fields to a select retail location. An extremely animated Fields did a tremendous job posing as a Modell's employee named Leeroy Fields. The 6'7 forward did just about everything possible to call attention to himself (and his jersey), helping Modell's create yet another viral sensation.

Check out the three (3) classic retail stunts below: 

New England Patriots Running Back Danny Woodhead

Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson

New York Knicks Guard Landry Fields

The "Human Billboard" Campaign Has Sports Implications

Sports organizations looking for new ways to make a huge splash in the offseason with a nominal marketing budget should consider benchmarking a terrific campaign recently implemented by ING Direct in Italy.

ING Direct had discovered that word-of-mouth referrals by existing customers served as a key driver for bringing in new business. ING looked to bring this notion to life by teaming up with Leo Burnett Milan to create a "Human Billboard" campaign that featured real customers sitting and standing atop billboards, strapped onto the side of city buses, and positioned on elevated displays in high-traffic areas inside a city setting.

The campaign proved to be tremendously popular, as consumers passing by the displays interacted with the brand activists, creating banter that was filmed and featured in an effective advertising campaign. 

The concept of the "Human Billboard" could have a number of implications in the sports space. Minor league teams looking to drive interest and awareness in the local marketplace could leverage season ticket holders and enthusiastic supporters in a similar fan-centric campaign. Marathons, triathlons and other major events could also implement a similar promotional concept to show how "real" participants are. Apparel companies and other manufacturers of products endemic to sports could also consider benchmarking the ING Direct campaign to bring product launches to life, etc.

Check out the terrific campaign below!

The Kings Let Groups of Fans Capitalize on Threes...

Sports organizations looking for new ways to attract and engage mid-sized groups of fans during games should take a close look at a program the Sacramento Kings are offering during the 2010-11 NBA season.

The Kings organization has created a special section, located just feet from the court near the baseline, that rewards fans based on how many three-pointers the team converts during games. The section, entitled the "Courtside Corner 3-Point Party", allows a group of fans seated in a 14-seat section to receive a $20 Kings Team Store Voucher (good with any $50+ purchase) for each three-pointer the team makes during a game. The group also receives a $200 food and beverage credit to be used for in-seat service thoughout the game.

The group receives a special three-point marker that will draw the attention of fans throughout the arena every time the team scores a basket from behind the arc and is guaranteed to be featured on KingsVision each game.

The best part about the section is the fact that if the Kings convert 14 or more three-point shots, everyone in the group gets their money back! One (1) group of (14) fans can sign up to sit in the Courtside Corner 3-Point Party each game  by calling 1-888-91-KINGS or visit No information was disclosed pertaining to the actual cost of group ticket prices to "own" the section.

In case you were wondering...

  • The Kings averaged 5.8 3-pointers made per game in 2009
  • The record for most 3-point field goals during a game is 23 (set by Orlando in 2009)
  • (8) NBA teams have made (12) 3-point field goals in (1) half
  • The Boston Celtics averaged 26.28 3-point field goal attempts in 2002-03 while the Atlanta Hawks only averaged 0.91 3-point field goal attempts in 1979-1980


Nationwide Teams Up with the Bengals to Let Fans Growl

Nationwide Insurance, the Exclusive Insurance Provider of the Cincinnati Bengals, is leveraging its team partnership with an innovative promotion designed to engage the Bengals fanbase. The initiative, entitled the "World's Greatest Growl in the World", allows fans to perform a :30 karaoke version of the Bengals touchdown song for the chance to be featured on the Bengals website and an ultimate Grand Prize of $25,000.

Each week, fans who submit videos can win co-branded items, tickets, and autographed merchandise for participating and the ten (10) best entries will be featured on Fans can then log in and vote daily for their favorite performance among the entries submitted (thus, both performers and voters become active leads for Nationwide). Fans who submit their favorite clips even have the ability to share them with family and friends via email.

Nationwide's "The World's Greatest Growl in the World" promotion has been extremely well received by Bengals fans thus far. Fans loved performing :30 karaoke versions at the Bengals home opener and traffic to the website has been very active in the early weeks of the promotion. Nationwide will also be leveraging its partnership with the Bengals by offering free ferry rides to Bengals games for all fans on a co-branded ferry (another great idea!).

The Bengals feature a collection of fan videos on There are some classic performances that are worth checking out!


Bring Game Entertainment to Life for Fans Via Social Media

Each and every football weekend, sports marketers need to consider ways that they can recreate the stadium experience for thousands of viewers at home. With social media, marketers have a very cost-effective platform to bring stadium entertainment to life for fans to watch during the week, before games, and after huge victories.

Quality content that can be captured and rebroadcasted via social media can include:

  • Pre-Game
    • Pre-game introductions, scoreboard introduction videos, pre-game traditions, time lapse videos of fans entering the stadium, pictures/video of game day giveaways, the National Anthem, pre-game skydivers, tailgating insights, pep rallies, pre-game concerts, pre-game band performances, warmups/walk-throughs, etc.
  • In-Game
    • Scoreboard features, on-field promotions, fan cheers, cheerleaders/dance team, halftime entertainment, in-game ceremonies, etc.
  • Post-Game
    • Band performances, team celebrations, post-game interviews, fan celebrations, scoreboard highlights, fireworks, post-game concerts, etc.

As an example of capturing quality game day footage, enclosed is a great video that lets fans experience the thrills of a skydiver gliding into a stadium packed with 80,000+ screaming fans before a rivalry game. Capture these special moments for your fan base!

Create Moments of Opportunity for Fans In-Game

Sports organizations looking for new ways to reward fans attending their games should consider creating "moments of opportunity" for fans. These moments, driven by corporate partner-led promotions, are terrific because they can generate excitement during dull moments in the action and can occur at any point during the game.

As teams look for new ways to generate interest and excitement amongst fans, more are turning to these type of rewarding moments. As an example, check out a "Bud Light Quench Time" promotion recently offered by the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL. The Steelheads identified a three (3) minute period in the game where if the team scored, all fans in attendance would be treated to a discounted price on Anheuser-Busch products for the rest of the game.

Bring Your Team Billboards Life!

Are you looking for new ways to engage fans throughout the week? Are you looking to drive online engagement and an incremental number of fans to your organization's Facebook Fan Page?

Rockit Wrigleyville, a new bar and grill located in the heart of Wrigleyville, recently featured a promotion that provided consumers with a chance to have their face appear on a billboard located just outside Wrigley Field. For a chance to win, consumers just had to take their picture in front of the billboard and upload it to the restaurant's official Facebook fan page.

The entrant who posted a photo on the Facebook Fan Page that generate the most "likes" by other viewers was selected as the ultimate winner of the promotion. To drive interest in the offer, Rockit Wrigleyville offered a free $25 gift certificate to each contestant. The winner, John Walters, garnered 82 "likes" for his picture submission.

The low-cost promotion served as a tremendous way for Rockit Wrigleyville to drive buzz in the marketplace (consumers would encourage their friends to check out their photos and "like" them) as well as drive traffic and new fans to the restaurant's Official Facebook Fan Page.

The promotion serves as a really simple way for sports organizations to leverage stadium landmarks and billboards in the marketplace to spur fan engagement and drive traffic online to the official team facebook page via valuable content.

Check out some of the pictures that were submitted here.

Watch a video of the campaign below:

The Mavs Raffle Off Nowitzki Bobblehead for Charity

Are you looking to enhance the fan experience on game day? Are you looking for new ways to highlight your team's stars?

One of the highlights of the 2010 NBA All-Star weekend was a life-sized, 7-foot bobblehead figurine of Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki. The statue was an instant attraction for fans searching for photo opportunities within the interactive NBA Jam Session footprint and served as an effective way for the Mavericks organization to highlight its franchise player.

The team brought the statue to life for fans by allowing them to purchase $5 raffle tickets for the chance to own it, with 100% of proceeds benefiting the Mavs Foundation.  


Are You Cut Out for the Amazing Seat Race?

Are you looking for new ways to draw buzz and excitement during the offseason? Are you looking to create new promotional ideas at the ballpark?

The Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent Northern League and Hot 103, a local radio station, recently teamed up to create The Amazing Seat Race, a promotion that pitted three (3) select contestants against one another for the chance to win season tickets. The promotion challenged the contestants to sit in as many seats as possible during a 63 minute timeframe.

The winner? Pam Chubinski, a stay-at-home mom who managed to sit in 2,000+ seats using a sliding strategy to outperform the others. Craig Kuhlman, an inside sales rep, placed 2nd with 1,656 seats (a tough 2nd place finish to say the least). For the chance to take part in the promotion, Goldeyes fans were asked to fill out a three page entry form/questionnaire.

The promotion serves as a great way for sports properties to create an inexpensive promotion that leverages their existing assets (empty seats), yet is very engaging for consumers. Teams can benchmark this example by:

  • Hosting a pre-game promotion prior to their 500th sellout by challenging their fans to see who can sit in 500 seats in the fastest amount of time
  • Integrate a sponsor like 7-11 by creating a promotion pre-game/post-game where fans are timed sitting in their seats for 711 minutes for the chance to win a $500 shopping spree at a local 7-11 (all participants receive a takeaway) or see which fans can sit in 711 seats the fastest
  • Create similar promotions that leverage fitness sponsors (by hosting a special challenge for local gym attendees for the chance to win free season tickets)

Check out a clip of the promotional execution below:

Northwestern Offers Ticket Promotions for Local Youth...

Are you looking for ways to engage children attending school in the local community? Are you looking to create a promotional offer that is centered around academic success?

Northwestern Athletics recently announced that it will be offering two unique promotions that reward childen in the 8th grade and under in the local marketplace:

Wildcats 3.0 Program

Northwestern created a Wildcats' 3.0 program that rewards children in the 8th grade and under who earn all A's and B's on their report card. The promotion, inspired by the University's 183 student-athletes who earned Academic All-Big Ten Honors in 2008, will serve as a great way to get more families in the stands for Wildcat football games during the Fall. As part of the promotion, youth who excel in the classroom can receive two (2) free tickets to a non-conference Northwestern football game when presenting a copy of their report card at the Wildcat ticket office one week prior to a game.

The Purrfect Attendance Program

Kindergarten, elementary, and middle school students who present a copy of their perfect attendance certificate (a reward for going to every day of school) can receive a Family Plan season ticket package, equivalent to two (2) adult season tickets and three (3) children's tickets for the 2009 Northwestern football season. This promotion will certainly drive some parents to get involved and encourage their children in the classroom!

A special thanks to Taylor Wood of the Ohio University MBA/MSA Program and Athletics Development Frontier for his insights and contributions to this column...

Consider Rewarding Your Finest Arena Performers with Ultimate Experiences...

Are you looking for new ways to build fan excitement during games throughout the season? Are you looking for new ways to reward fans?

Consider creating a "Peak Performers" promotion, where your organization selects one (1) fan each game who demonstrates the best dance moves/performance during a featured song on the video board. The promotion would serve as a great way for organizations to build fan excitement at every game, despite the team's performance on the court. Such promotions could also serve as a great way to incorporate new/existing corporate partners in a continuous in-game feature and generate interest from music labels looking to promote new albums, songs, etc.

At the end of the season, your organization can reward the group of the selected Peak Performers with an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the mascot and dance team's quarters and a chance to collectively perform on court during halftime.

For example, many musicans that act as co-owners (Jay-Z, Usher, Nelly, Jon Bon Jovi, etc.) of professional organizations could willingly create an ultimate promotion that rewards a group of Peak Performers with a exclusive postseason meet-n-greet opportunity and a chance to perform at halftime to one of the musician's favorite songs.

Wouldn't Jon Bon Jovi like to reward a fan like this at Philadelphia Soul games who also has a passion for both music and sports?