Red Sox ramping up PR to boost their local prestige

BOSTON: The Boston Red Sox have extended their contract with The Rasky/Baerlein Group, which aided the current owners in their bid to buy the team.

BOSTON: The Boston Red Sox have extended their contract with agency of record The Rasky/Baerlein Group, which aided the current owners in their bid to buy the team.

The agency is helping to plan a campaign to breed awareness of the brand in New England, a region where the Red Sox are the only Major League team. The agency also provides support to the team's in-house PR crew in the areas of marketing communication, events management, public affairs, and community relations.

The extension will continue the partnership until May 2005.

Rasky/Baerlein's relationship with the team goes back to 2001, when it was purchased by a group of owners from outside the region. During the bidding process, the Boston-based firm was the local contact for the bidders, helping them navigate the trickier straits of city politics.

The ownership group was led by John Henry, and includes TV producer Tom Werner. The team's president and CEO is Larry Lucchino. All three were viewed as outsiders by some.

"None of the three were residents of Boston," said Charles Steinberg, Red Sox EVP for public affairs. "In a situation like that, you need to partner with people who are your eyes and ears in Boston and in New England." Steinberg described the bid process as "a long and winding road.

"It turned out that the advice was sound, the work was good, and the victory was that the ownership group was able to purchase the team for a record amount," he added. "Rasky/

Baerlein takes you by the hand, and is one major ingredient in your education of the landscape of Boston."

Steinberg said the Paint New England Red campaign, the regional brand awareness effort, is part and parcel of an effort to tap into the storied team's national fan base.

"The Red Sox are an incredible brand to begin with," said chairman and CEO Larry Rasky. "Until you get to Southern Connecticut, they are it. There's a tremendous amount of brand loyalty to take advantage of."

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