4. Sponsorship Activation
The Admirals virtual mirroring of their in-game show also included sponsorship. In every video element shared the activated their sponsors. Many teams lost revenue or were forced into a series of make-good situations when games were postponed, cancelled or offered with limited capacity. While the virtual game doesn’t replace that lost revenue it highlights the ability teams have to replicate the sponsor elements and showcase the brands.
For this game the sponsorship elements were done as goodwill to the Admiral partners, showing the team wasn’t just reaching out to fans, but sponsors too. Wojciechowski-DeCaire explained, “Any sponsor related items incorporated today were done out of goodwill and to showcase our existing partnerships. While our season was cut short this was a great opportunity to get quite a few of our partners brands back in front of our fans and followers.”
The virtual game was also presented by Landmark Credit Union. Sponsors like KwikTrip were also represented for in-(virtual)-game messages.
The show was packed with virtual versions all the game elements and traditions like Dance Cam,
Here are the team’s virtual Pet Cam and Smile Cam moments. Like every virtual element, sponsors were at the forefront of the effort.
— Milwaukee Admirals (@mkeadmirals) March 11, 2021
5. Details Matter – Pizza Delivery Family
Virtual night wasn’t entirely virtual, some elements went right out into the real world.
Director of Entertainment Heather Wojciechowski-DeCaire noted “(we) are especially proud of the Palermo’s Pizza Delivery, the Andrew Automotive T-Shirt Toss and of course the Chuck-a-Puck which raised money for our charity.”
And they had reason to be proud.
The team made a real Palermo’s home pizza delivery to a family who was busy remote learning and with one parent who worked in health care. Nothing relates better to the challenges of the last year than saluting health care frontline workers and the struggles of remote learning. This thoughtful touch by the team made this moment shine. As the expression goes, the Devil is in the Details. Milwaukee nailed the details on this one.
One of the perks of this packaged virtual game is the Admirals could work through the details. Instead of grabbing a fan in the heat of the moment at game for a delivery, they parsed the options and made it remarkable.
— Milwaukee Admirals (@mkeadmirals) March 11, 2021
This wasn’t the only frontline worker feature. In their Traction Factory #MILhockey Role Models segment the Admirals highlighted crowd-sourced photos from local health care heroes. The feel-good moments didn’t end there, they also recognized police, fire and military members in a hometown heroes element. And teachers weren’t feel left out either, the team noted their incredible pandemic efforts too.
Bonus: Cams – Crowd Source is Engaging (and hard!)
Doing anything without fans is hard… especially Fan Cams. The Admirals used crowd-sourcing photos and video for the Smile Cam and Pet Cam elements.
Even the largest most passionate fans may not deliver you all the content you need.
We loved how the Ads simply augmented the collection of smiles, pets and dance moves from past games and events to make these elements work. The first run asking fans on social media may be lighter that you want, but these elements grow over time. Fans see what you are after, they see themselves in your videos and the content inventory will grow and improve.
In another example of a crowd-sourced Cam featured in a recent Water Cooler Moment (Sixer Fix) the Sixers used photo from social media for a “Family Cam“. With limited fans IN the arena, they reached out to fans and crowd-sourced the rest. This repeating element has been growing for the team ever since as they receive more photo and are able to reused the best ones.
Our Virtual Game Day is happening in just TWO DAYS!
Send us a pic of you smiling and you'll be featured during the game!
🗓️: March 11th, 10am. pic.twitter.com/CG1IQwT2xT
— Milwaukee Admirals (@mkeadmirals) March 9, 2021
- Of course we recommend our extensive Cam article if you ever want new or expanded ideas on scoreboard cams: Look Mom! I’m on the Jumbotron!
HUGE THUMBS UP for the Admirals and their pandemic anniversary showcase. This was huge win for Admiral fans, team sponsors and staff….and for game operations professionals. The chance to see a team’s full show was an unexpected bonus for everyone.
The benefits were many, including several we didn’t cover in the article. Heather added “We were also able to include a Game Day Auction which will benefit our charity as well. This was just a great opportunity to get out in front of our fans and the community to get people talking about Admirals hockey, even though we opted out of this season.”
While we covered the Twitter presentation, the Admirals also posted a 35 minutes compilation video with all of the Virtual Game Day videos on Facebook and YouTube the next day for fans who missed the Twitter chain. Twitter is the only form of social media that orders posts chronologically, so it was the focus to mimic the game day flow.
Of course this game wasn’t the only effort the Admirals have been making. They have also been staying connected during their suspended season with charitable efforts like a holiday toy drive and timely themed merchandise options.
This also raised an interesting possibility for these virtual games in a post-pandemic sports world. Why not offer a virtual experience in the off-season to stay connected? Or in the pre-season as a sales tool? Or the next time a game is cancelled due to weather, perhaps having a virtual game at the ready has huge value. The concept excels at connecting fans with the game experience and there may be no better way to showcase what you are selling than showcasing what you are selling!
As we look across the landscape at pandemic promotions and tools that will stick around when things go back to normal, some form of this virtual experience may prove to have that staying power.
Thank you to Admirals for this epic display of what’s possible. Thanks also to Heather for her added perspective and insight for this story.
- Marksmen Big Virtual Night – Fayetteville’s hockey team is on hiatus, but that didn’t stop them from producing a full show for their fans with this Virtual Opening Night.
- GR NYE Tradition is Alive and Well – Despite the pandemic lockout the Grand Rapids Griffins found a way to connect with fans. The team maintained their NYE tradition in 2021 with a Virtual Celebration.
Past Water Cooler Moments from the Admirals
- Affiliate Night in Milwaukee – Milwaukee had their affiliate night complete with the parent team mascot Gnash.
- Admirals Salute Stuffing – Stuff your face, stuff your pockets, stuff your suitcases for the Holiday.
- Sábado Gigante in Milwaukee – Milwaukee Admirals will commemorate the Day of the Dead with a Sábado Gigante.
- Affiliate Night Tradition – The Admiral have a great annual tradition with their Affiliate Night connected to their relationship with the Nashville Predators.
ICYMI: The Fayetteville Marksmen presented a Virtual Game around the new year, we covered three elements in Water Cooler posts here:
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