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!

Iowa Athletics Turns to a Card Stunt to Promote ANF Day Celebration

The University of Iowa Athletics Department recently teamed up with the Iowa Farm Bureau to pull off a spectacular stadium card stunt display in celebration of America Needs Farmers (ANF) Day at Kinnick Stadium.

Prior to kickoff of a recent Iowa-Northwestern football game, four grandstands of Hawkeyes fans at Kinnick Stadium held up cards on cue to deliver some impactful messages to 70,000 fans inside the stadium and a national television audience on Big Ten Network.

The impressive stadium card stunt display served as an effective way to drive awareness for the America Needs Farmers movement nationwide and creatively unite a stadium full of football fans. The University of Iowa Athletics Department captured the action on several cameras, including one on a time lapse setting that provides a remarkable viewpoint of the activation.

Check out the card stunts below and consider ways that your organization can leverage similar stunts to drive awareness for brands and cause marketing efforts!

Video of the Card Stunt Display

Time Lapse of the Card Stunt Display

Additional ANF Branding and Activation on Game Day

A special thanks to Craig Decker of Virginia Sports Properties for his insights and contributions to this column!

Hertha BSC Uses Stadium Choreography to Unite Their Fanbase

The loyal supporters of Hertha BSC, a German soccer club competing in the Bundesliga, recently displayed a tremendous choreographed performance in the stands at Olympic Stadium.
Fans seated in a block of fourteen sections (behind one goal) performed a card stunt and created a terrific illusion by raising a giant cutout of a hand holding the team's flag into the sky. The way the choreographed stunt was performed, it appears that the flag is floating in mid-air while thousands in attendance chant the team's anthem. 
Check out the impressive stadium stunt below:

The Western Bulldogs Give Fans a Vote of Confidence

The Western Bulldogs of the Australian Football League (AFL) recently turned to their online fanbase to decide which jersey (referred to as a guernsey) design their team will wear during the 2011-12 season. The Bulldogs created a fan-centric promotion on their team website that provided fans with an opportunity to vote for their favorite style jersey based on four options available.

The promotion also served as a terrific way for the team to collect consumer data. Nearly 3,000 fans submitted online entry forms with their votes, providing the team with an instant database to reach out to to drive merchandise sales in the future. The team created the simple survey using Survey Monkey and posted the promotion over a 2-3 week time period.

Check out the simple, yet effective merchandise promotion below and consider new ways that you can truly put fans in charge!

A special thanks to Nick Truelson for his insights and contributions to this column!

The Toronto Blue Jays Celebrate 80's Night in Style

The Toronto Blue Jays do a terrific job bringing their 80's Nights at the ballpark to life for fans. Check out four (4) great videos below that showcase some of the creative ways the team incorporated an '80s thematic into several elements of their game entertainment.

Consider new ways that your organization can benchmark these tactics to create a memorable night at the ballpark for your fan base! Also, consider approaching one of your corporate partners to see if they would be interested in title sponsoring the night and letting fans relive their brand "in the past" as well! (ala Coca-Cola, IBM, Perrier, Reebok, etc.)

Toronto Blue Jays' 80's Themed Scoreboard Vignette

Toronto Blue Jays' 80's Themed LED Creative

Toronto Blue Jays' 80's Themed Trivia Features

7 Great Promotional Ideas From Minor League Baseball

Minor League Baseball delivers some of the finest, unconventional ideas in all of sports. Here are seven (7) great promotional and entertainment ideas that teams from all leagues can consider benchmarking to enhance the game day fan experience at their venue.

I. Durham Bulls "Rock On" Promotion

The Durham Bulls created an entertaining segment where fans seated along the 3rd base line engaged in a singing competition against fans sitting along the first base line. The team played some commonly recognized rock songs that were easily embraced by the crowd. We should see more of this in Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball! Simple, yet effective. 

II. Live Rain Delay Theater Entertainment (Miscellaneous MiLB Teams)
The following clip demonstrates how a series of MiLB teams used a splash of creativity to entertain fans during rain delays and stoppages of play. The performances require some pre-game planning but serve as a great way to demonstrate additional entertainment value for fans.
III. Lake County Captains - "Are You Smarter Than an Umpire?" Promotion Presented by the Ohio Lottery
The Lake County Captains created a promotion replicating the popular show, "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" by creating a promotion where fans can test their sports IQ head-to-head against an umpire between innings.
IV. Charlotte Stone Crabs - Closest to the Pin Contest on Golfer's Appreciation Night
The Charlotte Stone Crabs attracted golfers in the local marketplace out to the ballpark by offering a post-game closest to the pin contest that allowed golfers to test their skills hitting a shot from home plate out to a flag in deep center field.
V. Lake County Captains - "The Price is Right" Promotion Presented by BJ's
The Lake County Captains did an excellent job creating a promotion replicating The Price is Right that features three (3) lucky fans being called out of the stands and onto the field to participate for a chance to win prizes.
VI. Lake County Captains - "Build El Burrito" Promotion Presented by Chipotle
The Lake County Captains created a simple on-field promotion where fans have to race to use a series of ingredients to build a burrito. The promotion, presented by Chipotle, served as a great awareness driver that also enhances the fan experience between innings.
VII. Lake County Captains - Michigan International Speedway Tire Race
The Captains teamed up with Michigan International Speedway to create a competition where two (2) contestants had to race head-to-head rolling actual tires used in NASCAR races around the infield for the chance to win ten (10) free tickets to an upcoming race.

The Portland Timbers Army Sing the National Anthem

The Portland Timbers kicked off their 2011 MLS season at home, the new Jeld-Wen Field, by allowing the Timbers Army (the team's fanbase) to sing the National Anthem.

Check out this incredible fan-friendly tactic that helped ring in a new era of soccer in Portland!

The Phillie Phanatic Treats Fans to a Lady Gaga Performance on Opening Day

The Philadelphia Phillies and their mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, treated their fans on Opening Day to a special performance from "Lady Pha Pha". For the second consecutive year, the Phillie Phanatic revealed his inner pop star through an elaborate Lady Gaga performance.

Heading into the sixth inning, a group of actors carried a large egg onto the field at Citizens Bank Park, only to have the Phillie Phanatic emerge to the delight of fans.

Check out the two acts below:

Opening Day 2011

Opening Day 2010

The Magic Offer Playoff Tickets to Scavenger Hunt Participants

The Orlando Magic are partnering with T-Mobile to host the second annual Magic Text Scavenger Hunt, offering fans a chance to win a pair of tickets to every home game during the team's 2011 NBA Playoffs run.

The promotional initiative allows teams comprised of 2-4 persons an opportunity to compete in a head-to-head scavenger hunt foot race in downtown. From noon-3pm on Saturday, April 2nd, teams will search downtown Orlando by foot while participating in a number of team activities along the way for a chance to win. Each team will be guided to select destinations by Magic Text Subscriber mobile alerts. The team that generates the highest point total and fastest time will win the grand prize - two (2) upper bowl tickets to every Magic home game during the 2011 NBA Playoffs.  

Fans can enter for a chance to compete to win by completing a registration form on the team's official website, sending a text message to 78828 with the keyword HUNT, or printing their name/team name  and contact information on a 3x5 card and mailing it to Magic Text Scavenger Hunt, 8701 Maitland Summit Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32810. Each team must have at least one (1) person in the group who is a Magic Text Subscriber on their mobile phone.

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:

Capital One Leverages Final Four Tickets to Drive Facebook Fanbase

Capital One is currently running a sweepstakes on its official Facebook page that offers all consumers who "like" their Facebook page a chance to win an Ultimate NCAA prize package, which includes two (2) NCAA men's Final Four tickets, travel and lodging for two (2) people, and a video camera to document your experience.

The Facebook campaign, featuring a valuable NCAA prize pack, demonstrates how valuable brands perceive their social media channels to be. In recent weeks, we have seen a number of sports organizations offering everything from free tickets to unique experiences to fans in an effort to drive their Facebook and Twitter following.

As an Official Corporate Champion of the NCAA, Capital One promoted the offer via a mass email blast to its current customers and several other marketing channels. Capital One is also supporting its NCAA partnership with "The Big Assist" sweepstakes, which allows all consumers who visit a Capital One Bank branch across Louisiana a chance to win tickets to the Final Four and designate a charity or non-profit organization for a $10,000 cash donation from Capital One.

The Bucks Celebrate Valentine's Day with A Little Humor

The Milwaukee Bucks recently celebrated Valentine's Day by creating a humorous jumbotron vignette that featured the team mascot, Bango, embarking on a full day of activities with his Valentine. The piece, set to the tune of Meatloaf's popular song "I'd Do Anything for Love", featured a pretty ironic twist that instantly won over all fans in attendance at the game vs. the Clippers.

The Milwaukee Bucks organization created the spot as part of a week-long effort to promote Bango as the most awesome mascot of the year in conjunction with the Cartoon Network's Hall of Game Awards. The Bucks are supporting the initiative by posting a skit, commercial, or dunk video every day of the week on the team's YouTube channel and leveraging Facebook and Twitter to drive awareness and fan voting.

Check out Bango's humorous Valentine's Day vignette below:

A special thanks to Michael Grahl of the Milwaukee Bucks organization for his insights and contributions to this column.

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 Red Sox Let Fans Sing Their Way to Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox are hitting the road in January to visit all six (6) states in the New England Region as part of a 2011 Red Sox Road Trip campaign presented by Coca-Cola.

The highlight of the Red Sox Road Trip initiative is a "Sing Your Way to Fenway" promotional initiative that allows fans a chance to audition for the opportunity to perform the National Anthem at Fenway Park during the 2011 Red Sox home season (think American Idol meets the Boston Red Sox). The team will select two (2) winners at each Road Trip stop and all twelve (12) of the Road Trip winners will qualify to compete in the "Sing Your Way to Fenway" finals at Fenway Park on February 9th.

The Red Sox are allowing contestants 90 seconds to perform their version of the National Anthem. At each tour stop location, the first (100) fans to arrive on time will be guaranteed the opportunity to audition. Entrants under the age of 18 must have a parent/guardian present to sign a release needed to participate.

At each of the tour stops, the Red Sox will also feature Wally the Green Monster, the 2004/2007 World Series Trophies, 2011 State Day game vouchers, and a promotion offering one (1) lucky winner the chance to take part in a Red Sox Road Trip Opening Weekend VIP Experience.

The "Sing Your Way to Fenway" promotion serves as a great idea for sports organizations looking for new ways to take their road trips and community engagement programs to new heights. The initiative allows the Red Sox to engage with neighboring states in a new way and strengthen its connection with fans attending games who have traveled from outside the state of Massachusetts. Based on the success of American Idol and the affinity that Red Sox fans have for the esteemed organization, Sing Your Way to Fenway will undoubtedly be a huge success.

The Red Sox will make tour stops at the following locations:

  • XL Center (Connecticut) - Tuesday, January 18th (12pm-6pm EST)
  • Curry Hicks Cage at UMASS (Massachusetts) - Wednesday, January 19th (10am-4pm EST)
  • University Mall (Vermont) - Thursday, January 20th (11am-5pm EST)
  • Muldoon Fitness Center at Rivier College (New Hampshire) - Friday, January 21st (12pm-6pm EST)
  • Portland Sea Dogs Hadlock Field (Maine) - Saturday, January 22nd (10am-4pm EST)
  • Woonsocket High School (Rhode Island) - Monday, January 24th (2pm-8pm EST)

Pacquiao - Margarito Delivers Terrific Fighter Introductions

One of the most memorable moments of the recent Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito fight was the electric fighter introductions on the massive jumbotron at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium. The fighter introductions showcased some of the most thrilling moments in boxing and served as the perfect lead-in for the fight.

Check out the fighter introductions here:

Fans "Devil-Ize" Their Office to Win Suite Tickets

The New Jersey Devils are running a cool "Devil-Ize Your Office" promotion where fans can submit pictures of how they (and their colleagues) show their Devils pride in the office. The office that is the most "Devil-ized" will win a luxury suite to the Devils-Capitals game at the Prudential Center on November 22nd.

The program serves as a great way to engage fans as well as the local business community. While the Devils made the submission/registration process is relatively simple, they could have turned the offer into a nice data mining initiative to develop relationships with contacts at several local/regional companies.

Check out the "Devil-ize Your Office" initiative here:


The Admirals Provide Giant Beach Ball Entertainment

The Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL) have found an interesting way to entertain fans during select intermissions - a giant beach ball. The team features a Beach Ball Bounce game on the ice that features two (2) teams of four (4) helmeted participants competing to knock the beach ball, filled with helium, through open boards at both ends of the ice (where the zamboni's drive in).

The promotion could serve as a great way for organizations to cross-promote other sports in town (local soccer club, basketball team with giant branding on a ball), local businesses (giant bowling ball, pool ball), lotteries (giant lottery ball), casinos, and more.

Check out the Admirals' execution of the Giant Beach Ball Bounce below:

Clippers Fans "Get Their Red On" in 2010

The Los Angeles Clippers celebrated their new brand new red jerseys and the start of the 2010-11 NBA season by featuring a "Get Your Red On" promotion that truly benefited fans. The promotion allowed fans who purchased a red jersey or red shirt on to receive a free lower bowl ticket to the team's game against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Clippers offered the deal on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a limited number of tickets being made available. However, it served as a great way to drive merchandise sales, drive interest and awareness around the team's new jerseys, and build some early season excitement around the club, especially with the return of start PF Blake Griffin.

While some clubs may not have a comparable amount of lower bowl inventory available to run a similar promotion, upper bowl tickets would still present a compelling offer for fans.

Boston College Delivers a Unique Ice Jam Experience

The Boston College Athletic Department recently teamed up with the Undergraduate Student Government of Boston College (UGBC) to create an unforgettable Ice Jam Event designed to drive interest in the University's basketball and hockey programs.

Boston College students, alumni, and fans were treated to a free unique sports experience that featured the Conte Forum arena transformed into a half sheet of ice and a half parquet. The BC-style Midnight Madness event allowed fans to enjoy a plethora of entertainment provided by the men's and women's basketball teams and the men's and women's hockey teams.

To make the event truly something special, Boston College Athletics called on legendary sports commentator Bob Costas to serve as celebrity emcee and Vanilla Ice to provide some relevant music entertainment. The Boston College Ice Jam event served as a terrific way to bring the University's college basketball and hockey fans together and build excitement for the four (4) programs' upcoming seasons, especially the defending national champion men's hockey team. Check out some great photos of the event here

BC student athletes created a humorous viral to drive excitement for the Ice Jam Event:

The BC Athletic Department created a great promotional spot of their own to drive interest in the event:

The Boston College Ice Jam lived up to all expectations, with slam dunk competitions and special guest appearances: