714 Club effort leverages present to preserve past

In 1935, Babe Ruth solidified his place as a baseball legend when he established a career home run statistic of 714.

In 1935, Babe Ruth solidified his place as a baseball legend when he established a career home run statistic of 714.

In 2006, Major League Baseball was reliving the glory of a record-breaking year as Barry Bonds broke the Babe's record.

At the same time, the Babe Ruth Museum was facing the challenge of creating an innovative way to raise funds for extensive renovations to the Babe Ruth Birthplace, the Baltimore row home where Ruth was born in 1895.

Strategy

"The museum sought a 'call to action' that would make the public aware of the necessity to renovate the museum in an effort to preserve Ruth's legacy," says Tim Richardson, senior account executive for Maroon PR. The agency created the 714 Club concept to raise awareness of the historic house, to Ruth's significance in American sports history, and to the museum's intended renovation project. Fans could join the 714 Club by donating any monetary variation of 714: $7.14, $71.40, $714, etc. Maroon PR leveraged the coverage of Bonds' record-breaking season to highlight the launch of the 714 Club.

Tactics

The firm designed a logo for the effort and implemented a PR plan that included coordinating media attention around the launch, holding a press conference, and creating exposure for the initiative. Interviews were secured between national and local media and the museum's executive director, Michael Gibbons. The campaign targeted baseball fans, historians, and sports media.

Results

To date, the initiative has reached more than 50 million people. Through the help of the 714 Club initiative, the Babe Ruth Museum has raised approximately $800,000 for the renovation project.
 
Future

The project will commence in fall 2006, with a projected reopening on MLB's 2007 Opening Day.

PR team: Babe Ruth Museum (Baltimore) and Maroon PR (Baltimore)

Campaign: 714 Club: Preserving the legacy of Babe Ruth and his birthplace

Duration: May to September 2006

Budget: Less than $30,000

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