Local agencies to play up DC as sports city

WASHINGTON: The Greater Washington Board of Trade wants to brand DC as a sports mecca, and it's calling on the area's PR and ad executives to make it happen.

WASHINGTON: The Greater Washington Board of Trade wants to brand DC as a sports mecca, and it's calling on the area's PR and ad executives to make it happen.

Representatives from Magnet Communications, Hill & Knowlton, APCO Worldwide, Golin/Harris International, and Burson-Marsteller joined dozens of area business leaders last week to begin planning a national campaign touting the DC area's sports teams and facilities. The goal is not just to promote the city's existing teams, but to attract events such as the Super Bowl or the NCAA Finals.

"We're trying to get the three jurisdictions - DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland - to work together," said Kenneth Umansky, president of the McLean office of ad shop Arnold Worldwide and chair of the marketing committee. "We see this as a real opportunity to grow the area's economy."

Fundraising has yet to begin, but efforts will include radio and print, association partnerships, and media outreach. The initial phase of the effort will focus on the area surrounding DC, though the campaign will go nationwide shortly.

Washington is currently in the midst of several conflicting efforts to bring a Major League Baseball team to the area. Competition has emerged between the District and Northern Virginia to become home to the Montreal Expos - a battle that could ramp up the cost for either site and possibly drive the team to another location altogether. Part of the commission's effort will be to avoid such counterproductive efforts in the future.

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