QuickHit scores big with NFL announcement

QuickHit, founded in 2008, develops and publishes free online sports games. QuickHit Football launched October 2009 and won NFL licensing in May 2010.

Client: QuickHit (Foxborough, MA)
Agency: Greenough Communications (Boston)
Campaign: QuickHit Scores NFL License
Duration: May 15 – June 17
Budget: $10,000

QuickHit, founded in 2008, develops and publishes free online sports games. QuickHit Football launched October 2009 and won NFL licensing in May 2010. Director of communications Samantha Smith explains Electronic Arts' (EA) Madden franchise had held exclusive NFL rights since 2004.

“There was a lot of pressure on PR to ensure the news was distributed to [a large audience], positioned the right way, and not leaked,” Smith says. “We needed to [raise our profile] in the business community and drive user interest.”  

QuickHit and AOR Greenough Communications developed a media-centric campaign to coincide with the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), held June 15-17.

Strategy
“We announced the NFL deal [on June 10], so as not to get lost among the major console game news coming out of the show,” explains Greenough SVP Stacey Mann. “We had to start the media push before the deal was signed and…tease…significant gaming industry news.”

Smith adds that “a very strategic decision” was made not to give an exclusive in order to generate widespread coverage on June 10.

Given behemoth EA had held exclusive NFL rights, the team decided to use a David vs. Goliath angle to hook analysts, media, and bloggers.  Word was also spread on existing social media channels.

Tactics
The team targeted gaming analysts and business, consumer, and gaming media and bloggers. Embargoed briefings with 27 top-tier outlets began June 8. The team met with 14 reporters and bloggers at E3.

The announcement was teased on Facebook  and Twitter and news and photos were posted after the story broke.

The team built a microsite was built to house information, including a video with game footage with the new NFL branding and social media links.

Results
Smith says June 10 coverage prompted inquires from four NFL agents and from the Canadian Football League, which is interested in a game tailored to its audience. She adds RFPs from new advertisers have also come in.

The microsite got more than 40,000 hits during the campaign, and nearly 12,000 visited the game site directly from media story links. Smith says that the most traffic any previous news announcement had driven to the game site was 4,500.

“This was…the most monumental campaign in our [history],” Smith adds.

Mann says more than 150 stories ran in outlets including AP, Business Week, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Time, and local Boston media. Since early June, Facebook fans have increased from 8282 to nearly 10,500 and Twitter followers are up from 600 to nearly 900.

Future
The team is now focused on promoting the September launch of the NFL branded game. Smith adds that announcement of a new “big” distribution partner is forthcoming.

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