BRISTOL, TN: Bristol Motor Speedway has hired Ketchum to handle PR for the next three years as the venue prepares to host the inaugural Battle at Bristol college football game.
The Speedway selected Ketchum last month to help develop a plan that would create excitement around the Battle at Bristol announcement on October 14 and sustain buzz leading up to the event in 2016, said Ketchum SVP Michael Finn.
The matchup between Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee, which will take place on September 10, 2016, is anticipated to be the largest college football game in history because the Speedway can hold up to 150,000 people. Previously, the highest college football attendance was 117,000 fans at Soldier Field in Chicago for the Notre Dame vs. University of Southern California game in 1927.
Jerry Caldwell, EVP and GM at Bristol Motor Speedway, said the organization did not issue an RFP for the business. It chose Ketchum because Caldwell had worked with Finn in the past, and he knew Ketchum's expertise in generating national awareness for brands, he explained.
Leading up to the announcement of the game earlier this month, Ketchum worked on a teaser website, social media efforts, logo design, and media and event support, Finn said.
As of last week, news of the upcoming game had earned more than 850 million Twitter and media impressions, including six stories in USA Today and one story in The New York Times, three Associated Press pieces, and mentions in ESPN and Yahoo Sports, according to data from Ketchum.
While the Speedway and Ketchum are still finalizing details of the firm's responsibilities over the next three years, Caldwell said the agency will continue to engage media outlets and also play a role in social media efforts.
A team of ten staffers at Ketchum is working on the business, Finn said.
Budget information for the account was not disclosed.