This past spring, the Orlando Pride broke the NWSL record on attendance in their inaugural home match against the Houston Dash. The previous record of 21,144 was no match for the Pride as they hit 23,403.
The secret behind their success? The market excitement for soccer in Orlando, of course. Building off the enthusiasm for the team, fans from central Florida flocked to see the team start the season and were pumped for a win. But while there may have been some excitement already for the team in general, strong marketing and public relations fueled the team’s campaign to create a bigger fan base that led to record breaking attendance and support.
Orlando Pride’s marketing success is a combination of a strong team logo, innovative promotional materials, interactive social media and aggressive public relations efforts as well as sponsorships. Read up on how these tactics ultimately lead to one of the strongest fan bases in NWSL history.
Orlando Pride Logo
First things first, the team needed its own logo and name separate from the men’s team. The Orlando Pride logo is based upon the fountain at Lake Eola. It features the same City Purple, the OCSC color choice and Eola Blue, symbolizing the fountain at Lake Eola along with the lakes of Central Florida.
The logo is unique because of the landmark that is easily recognizable by people who live in Orlando. This established a special connection for fans to the symbol. Events such as Magnet Mondays, where the marketing team passes out magnets of the logo, helped the brand materials distribute across all central Florida.
The Orlando Pride #ScarfTheCity campaign played a huge role in the team’s initial marketing buzz. Scarf the City was a day-long event where the marketing team hung, hid and placed more than 1,000 scarves in dozens of locations throughout Central Florida. The scarves were meant to be found for fans to keep, some even had a “Golden Ticket,” which gave fans two tickets to a game and a chance to meet Alex Morgan, the star player for the Pride.
The result of the campaign’s success led the hashtag #ScarfTheCity trending across all social media.
The OSCS brand is strong in the social media game. The team is able to engage fans with hashtags such as #FilledWithPride and #VamosOrlando.
This communication adds authenticity to the brand. With trending hashtags and fan engagement through social media, the brand built a huge follower base with almost 200K followers on Twitter and Instagram and more than half a million on Facebook, a great achievement for any team.
The best fans lead to the best attendance. With all the support the team gets, the team is leading the season, being in the top 5 of the league. To learn more about the benefits of hashtags, check out our blog article Social Media Bootcamp: Using Hashtags for Your Business.
Face-to-face is the most effective form of communication, but how does a soccer team accomplish this? Orlando Pride gets involved with the community by having Alex Morgan and other stars become accessible to fans. There are numerous meet & greets throughout the year and contests and giveaways where fans have the opportunity to meet their favorite players. Giving fans a firsthand Orlando City-experience. By hosting these kinds of events, the Pride shows that it’s not just representing Orlando, it is Orlando.
Community involvement helps Orlando Pride establish not only a presence in the community, but a positive reputation overall for its outreach.
The Orlando Pride also has a variety of sponsors supporting the team and its growth efforts through cross-promotional marketing. One of its key sponsors is Orlando Health.
This agreement allows the Orlando City Foundation to help kids in need with non-profit programs that support children with disabilities. Having support from well-recognized brands gives the organization more credibility.
The result of this is healthy, mutually beneficial sponsorships, and more reasons for the Orlando community to be fans of the Orlando Pride. The goal being to make a mark and build a long-term fan base in central Florida.
Appleton Creative has a sports marketing division that includes services to get you results in naming rights partnership negotiations, in-game promotions and on-site data collection, fan interaction, giveaways, promotions, and more that you can find on our sports marketing website at Appleton Sports Marketing. Appleton’s team specializes in branding providing a vast amount of services such as logo, design, branding, public relations, web development and more. Our team is ready and equipped to take your business to where it needs to be.
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