As we wrote last week, it is the time of year when votes are cast in Major League Soccer for MVP, Defender of the Year, Coach of the Year and more. This is the third year that Footiebusiness.com has been a voter, but the first year that a Team PR Award isn’t among the offerings. However, whether official or not, we thought it worth casting our vote for the 2011 Team PR. In past years, the Award was defined this way: “Department recognized for consistent, accurate and proactive efforts in providing media members with information and generating coverage for its team.” However, because this is now a Footiebusiness Award, we think recognition for marketing and promotional efforts should also be included.For purposes of this award, the “2011 year” started when voting closed last October.
With that, we narrowed the 2011 field to two choices, Sporting Kansas City and Portland Timbers. After considering all of the teams, these are the two that stood out in 2011. The second place award goes to Portland. The team generated fantastic local publicity while becoming a sensation in the national sports media for its passionate crowds, Timber Joey and national anthem. The team also featured great commercials with its Alaska Air partner that made waves around the web and was so successful at the gate that capacity was increased mid-season. The team also generated enormous buzz with a clever billboard campaign that featured real fans plastered all over the City. Of the two new teams in 2011, the Timbers were the brightest on and off the field.
However, Sporting Kansas City is our winner in 2011. Sporting started the year with a complete re-brand that included a name change and much more. The team’s front office effectively communicated the change and the reasons for the switch to its fans and to the media. Team representatives made themselves available to explain the new brand and the website effectively supported the message. Also this year, the team moved into beautiful new Livestrong Sporting Park and effectively paired the move with intriguing video tours, ticket sales options and more. The team’s relationship with the renown LiveStrong charity generated a massive amount of publicity outside soccer media. The team also efficiently handled the brief presence of Chad Ochocinco, generating more positive publicity for the club and team. The team effectively managed its social media presence, ensuring that fans and media were kept apprised of important developments all season long. Finally, the team shattered its own attendance mark, averaging more than 17, 600 for 2011.
All season long, the Sporting PR group hit the right notes and we congratulate Sporting Kansas City for winning the 2011 Team Pr Award.
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