NEW YORK: To gear up for Major League Baseball's All-Stars game in the Bronx July 15, the MLB PR team used New York City as the backdrop for its campaign.
Forty-two Statue of Liberty replicas, plastered with team logos and colors, were placed all over the city, a Bon Jovi concert was held in Central Park on July 12, and a parade came down Sixth Avenue the afternoon of the big game.
"For the All-Star Game, one really important thing we like to do is take on the feel of the [host] city," said Matt Bourne, VP of business PR for MLB. "We wanted to be high impact and use the great backdrop of New York City."
Bourne called the entire PR campaign a very collaborative effort, both within MLB, and with external agencies like Rubenstein, which helped with PR for the parade and FanFest (the agency also reps the New York Yankees); NYC & Co., the city's marketing, tourism and partnership organization; and the Mayor's Office and City of New York.
Fox Sports, the network that aired the All-Star Game, also worked with MLB for several PR efforts, said Lou D'Ermilio, SVP of media relations for Fox Sports Network. These included a conference call with members of sports media, radio tours with parade hosts Chris Rose and Mark Grace, and appearances for Joe Buck, who called play-by-play for the game, on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Late Show with David Letterman, organized by Fox Sports VP of communications Dan Bell.
Fox Sports and MLB also provided All-Star items, including a video comparing and contrasting life now to life in 1977, the last time the All-Star Game was held at Yankee Stadium to national sports media, radio stations, and local broadcasters.
"You need things to talk about if the subject of the All-Star Game comes up, and we want them to be prepared," D'Ermilio said. Fox also released information about which Hall of Famers would come to the game on a weekly basis, he said, to "keep things buzzing."
For sponsors of this event, the All-Star game provided opportunities to leverage the partnership and introduce some PR. Sharp Electronics hosted a "Winning Lineup" sweepstakes promotion and a street team handing out lineup cards, promoting the sweepstakes. Bank of America held a month-long promotion where customers who signed up for a MLB Banking Account also received two complimentary tickets to a VIP event at the All-Star FanFest.
"New York is such a cluttered and dynamic marketplace," said Joe Goode, SVP of global marketing for Bank of America, "so our strategy was to create as much sound about [Bank of America's participation] as possible."
Baseball-focused companies New Era and Modell's held events around the city, bringing together kids and Yankees legends, said Philip Crimaldi, VP at DKC, which works with both corporations. Other DKC client Topps, the baseball card company, had a major presence at FanFest, where fans could create their own baseball cards.