Win, Lose and Draw
MLB Fan Cave
Baseball’s social media experiment paid off in a big way, well beyond the 1.3 billion total media impressions the effort collected. The Fan Cave centered around a 15,000-square-foot Greenwich Village space in which a pair of fans watched every MLB game. Dozens of current and former players stopped by, rock bands performed there live, and the effort generated more than 300 online videos. Most importantly, the Fan Cave produced huge buzz for the sport and made MLB more relevant with younger consumers.
A strong statement
Sporting Kansas City found a unique way to mix naming rights with doing the right thing, linking the MLS team’s new soccer stadium with the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Livestrong is paying nothing for the stadium to be called Livestrong Sporting Park. Instead, the team will pay the cancer foundation an undisclosed percentage of all stadium revenue, including a guaranteed $7.5 million over the six-year term. Beyond the numbers tied to the deal, the partnership brought a fresh approach to cause-marketing efforts.
English Premier League club Arsenal gave free tickets to those who attended an 8-2 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Around 3,000 fans made the 400-mile round trip to Manchester, only to see the team suffer its heaviest defeat since 1896. Yes, 1896. Arsenal offered to cover the cost of a ticket at a future Premier League away game. Ponying up for that stinker will go a long way toward building good will with Arsenal’s fan base.
Standing room only
As if a winter storm and lengthy waits in lines didn’t wreak enough havoc on Super Bowl XLV, hundreds of fans arrived at Cowboys Stadium only to realize that their seats weren’t available. The city of Arlington had refused to grant a permit for some of the temporary seating installed for the event. A red-faced Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones apologized, and the NFL offered unseated fans at least $5,000 as compensation for their Super Bowl expenses. Still, at the end of the year, the league faced a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of some of those displaced fans.
Stuck in traffic
NASCAR officials apologized after traffic backups marred the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Thousands of fans were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Interstate 71 and area roads for several hours on race day. When fans finally got to the track, many were turned away either because parking lots were full or because the traffic flow had been reversed to accommodate post-race traffic.
Rain, rain, go away
For the fourth consecutive year, rainouts dominated the headlines at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Players blasted the U.S. Tennis Association’s rain policies, saying the organization made them play in unsafe conditions. Some ticket buyers felt like they got soaked as matches were rescheduled. Once again, the focus shifted to the USTA’s long-discussed proposal to put a roof over the event’s main court. So far, however, the organization has declined to make the investment.
This could easily be called the year of the uniform as many college programs tampered with tradition and rolled out new looks that sometimes shocked, sometimes inspired. Nike led the charge, blowing up the design board with schools such as Oklahoma State and Arizona State. Under Armour created perhaps the biggest stir with its uniform re-do for Maryland. Even tradition-rich programs such as Notre Dame and Michigan got into the act, with Adidas designs that gave a nod to the past.
No storybook ending
The U.S. women’s national soccer team captured the nation’s attention as it made a run at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The final between the U.S. and Japan produced ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed soccer telecast, ever. But the loss to Japan kept the U.S. team from enjoying a marketing windfall, although standout players Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan landed deals. Supporters of women’s soccer were left wondering about what might have been.
Introducing the $30 beer
At Progressive Field in Cleveland, Delaware North Sportservice, the Indians’ food provider, developed a new Spirits of Ohio stand featuring beers made in the Buckeye State. That’s a solid idea for marketing homestate brewskies, but while prices started at $6.74, they topped out at a whopping $29.75 for a 22-ounce specialty beer. Nearly $30 for a Hoppin’ Frog Bodacious Black and Tan?