Two challenges in and we still have a crowded leaderboard with just a few points separating the top teams thus far. One thing that has really impressed thus far is how well our new (“rookie”) participants have performed…nearly everyone is still in the mix for a run toward the top of the standings.
Points have been allocated for the second round of sports marketing challenges (branding) and updated standings can be found at the bottom of this post. However, we wanted to highlight a few of the creative and innovating branding ideas submitted by some of our schools this round. Keep that momentum going everyone!
Wichita East High School, KS (Wichita Wolves)
We really enjoyed the detailed approach to developing the team’s logo in alignment with the brand identity the Wolve’s front office is working to establish for the inaugural season for the franchise.
From the team’s branding report: “Wichita Wolves’ team colors are red, blue, white, and grey. The red, blue, and white come from the Wichita flag that was created 5 years ago. The grey accents come from the typical color you see of a wolf. Our logo is a wolf’s paw with the Wichita flag blended in behind the paw. The word Wolves under the picture tells fans and competition who we are.” We also liked the inclusion of a slogan for the season “Hear Us Howl” and the hashtag #WOLVESNATION to help unify the fan base and build excitement for the new franchise. Well done by students from Wichita East!
Richardson High School, TX (Salt Lake City Mountaineers)
One of the best ideas from all the challenge #2 responses came from students at Richardson High School. In both challenge #1 and again in challenge #2, the Mountaineers’ front office has been commited to establishing a community-first approach to marketing the new franchise. What better way to do that than commissioning local artists to help with natural brand extensions within the stadium. The work created by local artists will offer a cool amenity at games, no doubt adding value to the fan experience, while generating a true community connection with the franchise. Very cool.
We also loved the “Salt Lake Shake” game day tradition when the home team runs out of the tunnel during introductions. According to the team’s branding report: “It’s where everyone in the stadium follows along with our spirit group, The Mountain Boys, to do a dance reminiscent of the Harlem Shake trend, while the team runs out of the tunnel and the “Salt Lake Shake” song plays. The song is a parody of the Harlem Shake, and instead of the word Harlem, it is replaced with “Salt Lake.” The Mountain boys are a group of 5-6 guys who have been going to the games since they became a team. They are known for the funny dances and crazy outfits that they wear to every game.” Sounds like a lot of fun for the home fans! Overall, we are loving the creativity from the Mountaineers front office so far!
Miami Valley Career Tech Center, OH (Miami Valley Aviators)
We loved the Aviators’ “Earn Your Wings” slogan as a way to encourage commitment from everyone around the franchise; from the players (who will be rewarded with a wings sticker to put on their helmets for positive performances) to the front office and the fan base. Cool idea!
We also loved the support of a cause with the introduction of an alternate uniform. The Aviators’ front office plans to outfit the team in purple and blue uniforms to represent suicide awareness for selected home dates during the season, along with developing a program to increase awareness in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Last but not least, we really like the idea of the implementation of a loyalty program to begin building a rabid fan base in the team’s first season. To encourage loyalty, the team plans to offer a Flight Club point card. Fans earn loyalty points when they use their card to purchase tickets, merchandise, and food or beverages. Earning points creates eligibility to redeem for cool prizes and unique behind-the-scenes fan experiences for the most loyal customers. Really well done MVCTC students!
Blacksburg High School, VA (Salt Lake City Mountaineers)
One of our favorite slogans from this challenge was presented by students from Blacksburg High School, encouraging Mountaineers fans throughout the Salt Lake City region to “Hop on the wagon!” Seems like a greaty rallying cry to build support for the franchise in its inaugrual season. There was so much here to appreciate from the Mountaineers front office strategic branding plan, but a few things that stood out:
- The thorough and comprehensive effort to expose as many people as possible to the brand, from the top of the organization all the way to the fans, including game day staff like these “uniforms” for ushers and customer service reps. This suggests the organization has a commitment to establishing a very “classy” brand!
- Love the idea of an “on-brand” song during player entrances (a Remix of “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker) in which the franchise plans to partner with the country music star on a team-branded version that will inlcude Salt Lake, Utah and the Pioneers of the West. The Mountaineers front office suggests the song “relates to our brand because the song is about Rucker making a grand journey, just like the Pioneers.” Similarly, the team’s victory song will be “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. According to the team: “This song is about not caring what others think and challenging ideas about what made women “bad” back then. The song fits with our brand of innovating and pushing to the future.” And speaking of innovation, the franchise even plans “innovative” on-brand food and beverage offerings at games, as highlighted in the team’s positioning map (helping to brand the franchise as affordable entertainment for the whole family). Well played Mountaineers!
Woodbridge Senior High School, VA (Portland Bears)
Many teams chose to feature the establishment of game day traditions as brand extensions as part of an overall branding strategy. One of the traditions we loved came from students at Woodbridge Senior High with the “Bear Cub Crawl” where area youth would be invited on to the field pre-game decked out in the team’s jerseys while Bear Paw megaphones would be distributed to fans entering the building to cheer them on.
This provides a great fit with the team’s “community first” branding strategy and aligns with the Bears’ focus on building a family friendly franchise which they outlined in challenge #1 when developing their marketing plan. Nice job Portland Bears front office!
BFA St. Albans, VT (Portland Hurricanes)
Who knew the students at BFA St. Albans were already brand experts prior to this competition? Pretty cool to see the research that went into the development of the Portland Hurricanes brand, particularly with the decision on team colors. Per the team’s branding report submitted for challenge #2, the Hurricanes leaned on psychology to help determine the color scheme.
According to the team, the color blue will command respect from other teams” while building fan loyalty by providing the fan base with confidence that the Hurricanes are a “reliable” franchise. Gold was included because it evokes the feeling of prestige, while its meaning is derived from illumination, wisdom and wealth and symbolizes high quality. Yellow shades are shades that call attention to themselves. Yellow helps refresh memories.
According to a release from the team, “Having gold in our logo would make our logo memorable to the fans and rivals as well. It also has the physical effect of energizing, improving moods, and encouraging communication. The gold will literally get the fans hype.” Really good stuff from the Hurricanes front office!
Green Run High School, VA (Virginia Stallions)
Overall, a very thorough, creative and comprehensive branding strategy from the Stallions front office. A few standout ideas from Green Run students in challenge #2:
The Stallions front office bsolutely nailed the team name, diving into some research about the community to establish a name that the community can rally around. From the team’s branding report: “This name exemplifies the history and future of Virginia where scenic horse trails, elite competitions, thrilling races, hunts and the Chincoteague ponies have established Virginia as a horse loving state.Virginia’s horse industry had already established itself as the birthplace of some of America’s first horse legends and breeds. In fact, Virginia’s partnership with horses began back in 1610 with the arrival of the first horses to the Virginia colonies. For almost 400 years, horses have contributed to the state’s economic success and stability. Today, the role of horses has changed dramatically, yet horses are still a vital economic factor influencing the lives of millions of people who reside in and visit Virginia. This brand will tie together the history, future, and community of Richmond, our capitol and Virginia.. This will boost levels of fan engagement and still generate revenue for success.”
This might be the first time we’ve seen an emphasis on player safety incorporated in response to our branding challenge. According to the Stallions brand report: “Our uniforms are a classic look with a sleek fit. Our helmets are state of the art with safety in mind. We will use helmet covers called Guardian Caps. These helmet covers are designed to dissipate the dangerous energy of repeated blows to the head. They snap on top of the players’ regular helmets, providing two levels of protection.” That’s really cool, and some seriously next level thinking.
The mane of the horse from the team logo is designed in the shape of waves to represent Virginia’s beautiful coastline, while the team reports the lines to represent the James River connection to Virginia commerce and the city of Richmond.
Hidden in the Virginia Stallions’ primary logo are the letters “V” and “A”, representing the state of Virginia.
Earlier this school year, we shared a branding lesson that featured “hidden logos” in sports, and it seems Green Run students were paying attention! It was awesome to see them apply what they learned in a previous lesson to this project…great job Stallions front office!
Waverly High School, NY (Toronto Thundercats)
Sometimes the attention to detail in these challenges is the difference between a championship season and a top ten finish…the Thundercats front office have really raised the bar with an incredibly detailed brand strategy, right down to team letterhead and business cards.
Among other highlights:
- One of just a few schools to create a secondary logo to use for alternate branding AND help maximize merchandise sales
- Launching an advertising campaign to help ESTABLISH the brand (remembering this is a NEW franchise to the area) with a memorable campaign to raise awareness with glow-in-the-dark billboards featuring the team’s slogan for the inaugural season, “Light It Up”
- Wide variety of merchandise items featuring items that will certainly be hot sellers in the area, including everything from team-branded facemasks to cornhole boards emblazoned with the team’s logo
- Inclusion of a brand positioning map to illustrate the team’s strategy for establishing brand image
Overall, Waverly students submitted one of the top responses to challenge #2 and have maintained an ever-so-slight margin at the top of the standings. Great job so far Thundercats!
Helena High School, MT (SLC Stingers)
One of our favorite uniform designs submitted in this round of the competition comes from students at Helena High School. According to the team’s branding report, helmets will be blue with the honeycomb pattern with accents of yellow, black, silver, and white. The Stingers’ logo is featuered on the side of the helmet.
Hanford High School, WA (San Diego High Tides)
Students at Hanford High have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability through two challenges, and it culminates with an on-brand game day tradition that seems to have a lot of potential on many levels. The High Tides “Bucket Towards Sustainability” is a tradition that encourages fans to donate money to add a cup of water to a giant team-branded bucket that, when full, would be dumped on a local sports celebrity or member of the High Tides franchise wearing a High Tides raincoat or poncho (presumably also available for sale online or at the team’s stadium pro shop). Of course, all proceeds would then be donated to environmental sustainability efforts. Nice job High Tides front office!
Elizabethtown High School, PA (Dover Divas)
In addition to an awesome on-brand concessions menu with “Make-Your-Own” hot dog offering along with the signature “Diva Dog” (hot dog topped with pasta salad that includes grilled vegetables, parsley, and feta cheese that comes from local farmers), the Divas’ front office came up with a great brand extension idea. The team plans to offer “make-your-own” dog kits in supermarkets and grocery stores, creating an opportunity to showcase the team’s locally sourced food product, its brand, and sustainability initiatives all at once. Love it!
Great ideas Elizabethtown High School students! Keep them coming!
Grant High School, OR (Portland Pines)
The highest scoring response in this round of challenges, Grant HS students submitted an absolute master class in branding. From thoroughly researching the best possible color schemes for the brand to an array of creative brand extensions, the Portland Pines front office proved they are in it to win it this year.
Some highlights from the Portland Pines’ branding report include:
From the team’s report: “Our shield logo represents how the Pines are protectors of our community and the environment. The shield design is inspired by the forest service patch and includes a strong and bold letter P to highlight the first letter in Portland and Pines. The tree shape with strong bold and clean edges represents a pine tree, while also mixing in a “saw tooth” look along the edge to represent the toughness of the franchise.”
Stadium Food & Beverage
As “on brand” as you can get in Portland for a stadium concessions item, along with a clever name… Introducing the Organic Ice Cream “Pine Cone”- $8.49
The green represents the green throughout nature and our eco-friendly vibe. The black represents power and elegance, while serving as a good accent to our nature theme. The white represents purity and optimism, while the beige color represents wood and a team that’s flexible and dependable.
The Pines’ branding report is full of fantastic brand extensions, many aligning with the team’s mission statement and commitment to sustainability, highlighted in the marketing plan from challenge #1. For example, the stadium will feature a giant fir tree in the front of the building for players and fans to hug for good luck (and to take photos to post to social media, tagging the franchise using its slogan as a hashtag). Other brand extensions included the team’s woodwind band section walking around downtown Portland before games to get the fan base pumped up, and a halftime promotion that features a contest where fans will attempt to toss a pinecone in a wood barrel to prizes.
A FANTASTIC job from Portland Pines front office!
UPDATED STANDINGS AFTER CHALLENGE #2
|School||Team Name||TOTAL POINTS|
|Waverly High School||Toronto Thundercats||498|
|Blacksburg High School||Salt Lake City Pioneers||497|
|Grant High School||Portland Pines||496|
|Green Run||Virginia Stallions||495|
|Miami Valley Career Tech Center||Miami Valley Aviators||495|
|Lyman High School||Rhode Island Ragers||492|
|Richardson High School||Salt Lake City Mountaineers||492|
|Helena High School||Salt Lake City Stingers||490|
|Montgomery County||Mexico City Chupacabras||490|
|Mount Si High School||San Diego Surge||488|
|Little Elm High School||Portland Racoons||487|
|Elizabethtown High School||Dover Divas||486|
|BFA St Albans||Portland Hurricanes||485|
|Wichita East||Wichita Wolves||485|
|Woodbridge High School||Portland Bears||484|
|Hanford High School||San Diego High Tides||481|
|Bigfork High School||Birmingham Bullfrogs||479|
|Lake Travis||Austin Aztecs||477|
|Kellam High School||New York Racoons||474|
|Carl Sandburg High School||New York Yorkers||473|
|Victor J Andrew High School||Portland Lumberjacks||473|
|Chanute High School||Austin Rebels||240|