EA puts on a new face for its launch of NCAA Football '09

On July 15, college football and video games will once again collide for NCAA Football '09. Tyrone Miller, PR manager of EA, said this latest incarnation will offer a more authentic collegiate football experience, including university stadiums, cheerleaders, fans, and school bands. EA hopes to demonstrate this authenticity with its PR campaign for the game, handled in-house.

Objective: On July 15, college football and video games will once again collide for NCAA Football '09. Tyrone Miller, PR manager of EA, said this latest incarnation will offer a more authentic collegiate football experience, including university stadiums, cheerleaders, fans, and school bands. EA hopes to demonstrate this authenticity with its PR campaign for the game, handled in-house.

Idea: A new version of the game is released every year, so to make 2009 unique, EA featured a different athlete on each of the five covers for the separate platforms (Wii, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, and PSP): Matt Ryan, Darren McFadden, Owen Schmitt, DeSean Jackson, and Sparty, the Michigan State mascot. Several events in cities like New York and Vancouver revealed which athletes would grace the game covers and gave sports media a chance to interview college stars, several of whom were drafted into the NFL. "Access to the athletes gets the sports media interested in the game," Miller said.

Tools: EA is using events, online media, and traditional media outreach to promote NCAA Football '09. EA also sent video of interviews with the athletes to traditional media, in addition to gaming industry trade publications. On NCAAFootball09.com from February 14 to March 6, EA hosted a mascot contest for the cover athlete, which got students involved, even creating Facebook pages.

Measurement: Product sale volume will be the ultimate measure of success, but EA will also look at media coverage as another metric. Outlets including Entertainment Weekly, ESPN, AOL, Fox Sports, and Maxim covered news of the game, as did numerous gaming titles.

Organization:
EA Inc.
Campaign:NCAA Football '09
PR Team:In-house
Launch:July 15
Budget:Undisclosed

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