Fresno Grizzlies Case Study
Carter and Co. Communications were hired by the Fresno Grizzlies, the AAA Farm Team to the San Francisco Giants, for major donor solicitation. The team was having difficulty in this area because their efforts were focused on “selling baseball”, not the needs and interests of the sponsor.
We needed to find a way to attract corporate donors capable of investing in major sponsorship partnerships with the team.
Our extensive knowledge of the Central Valley led us to create a solution involving the Grizzlies Community Foundation by pairing them up with the agricultural industry. At first glance, one would not think that a minor league baseball team and farmers would be a good match in attracting new sponsors for a baseball team. However, Carter had the vision.
Our vision centered on making agriculture the central theme of the strategic marketing campaign for the Fresno Grizzlies to be rolled out under the Grizzlies Community Foundation. We created messaging which incorporated other elements of the needs of the community and tied them into agriculture. Community outreach was key here. We focused in on education, and together with local farmers, we tied the Grizzlies Community Foundation, ‘ Wild about Reading program’ into both industries. Wild about Reading challenged school children to read ten books in five weeks to earn tickets to games. By pairing this program with agriculture, books were created for Wild about Reading which focused on farming.
Our efforts and vision resulted in the creation of “Farm Grown”, a play on words that married the rich agricultural heritage with the relationship the Fresno Grizzlies have with the San Francisco Giants as their minor league farm team.
Ideally, the program would provide the agricultural sponsors with a captive audience to spread their heritage and traditions while educating students about an industry that feeds the world, with the central San Joaquin Valley being one of the most fertile and profitable areas in the nation. In talks with the agriculture industry, Carter & Co. learned getting their messages to the youth was a goal, creating incentive for it to turn toward the industry when finished with their education.
This collaboration of reading and agriculture had its hook: baseball. But the Grizzlies initially balked at the chance.
The organization wanted to keep the agricultural sector separate from its Wild About Reading campaign, and it took Carter & Co. years - literally, years - to get the Grizzlies to realize the opportunity they had been missing. Carter sold the idea that joining the ventures kept the integrity of the reading program while giving a major lift to a billion-dollar area industry, which in turn could lead to major sponsorships.
Finally, the Grizzlies bought in. Carter & Co. helped create Farm Grown, a Grizzlies program designed to promote agriculture awareness, education and healthy living. Farm Grown teamed with Wild About Reading and in 2013, the featured book was called “Parker Goes to the Farm,” where the Grizzlies’ mascot and some children visit a local farm and learn to become farmers. In 2014, the featured book is “What’s for Dinner, Parker?,” which focuses on healthy eating, an active lifestyle and agricultural education.
The partnership’s success has been overwhelming, and the Grizzlies and the agriculture industry are now promoting sponsorships for students who venture into ag-related fields. Beyond that, agricultural sponsors are filling the stadium because they are now getting more for their dollar as promotions grow.
The team now sponsors agricultural awareness events, fundraisers to benefit the community foundation, and local farmers are lining up to add their name to the list of sponsors. It is a win-win proposition that has proven enormously successful for both the Grizzlies and local farmers.
Crisis Management/ Lobbying/Political Negotiations
Grassroots Organizing/ Consensus Building
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