If you live in Cincinnati, you know that the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day is pretty much a citywide holiday. This year marks a very special milestone for the Cincinnati Reds as fans will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Cincinnati Reds and the 100th anniversary of the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade.
With all the hype surrounding Opening Day, we’ve put together a list of reasons why the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day knocks marketing out of the park every year.
1) Celebrating Their History and Story
As the Cincinnati Reds is America’s first professional baseball team – the Cincinnati Redstockings established in 1869 – the team helped pioneer professional baseball nationwide. That alone is a big deal and should be continually celebrated.
The Reds Opening Day also used to usher in baseball season. Even though the Reds Opening Day is no longer the game that kicks off baseball season for the rest of the league, the Reds and Cincinnatians didn’t let that damper the enthusiasm and energy of Opening Day.
Whether it’s the Cincinnati Redstockings, to the Big Red Machine, or players that have built strong relationships with their fans over the years, the Cincinnati Reds have an incredible history that makes Cincinnatians very proud to have the Reds as our team.
The 150 years of Cincinnati Reds history is so rich that the Queen City can expect a yearlong celebration of baseball. “You can’t tell 150 years of history in one day or one home stand or even month, so we’re really going to do that all season long,” said Cincinnati Reds president and COO Phil Castellini.
Every brand has a history and a story. The craziness of Opening Day in Cincinnati is a result of all the work that the Reds and community have put in to celebrating the team’s history and story.
2) The Fan Experience
People get excited each year because they know how much fun Opening Day will be. The quality of the diverse variety of events for fans to celebrate is a strong example of how a brand can build strong relationships with its audience by providing a grand slam of an experience.
Opening Day wouldn’t be special if the fans aren’t having fun! Whether it’s the festivities and special guests inside Great American Ballpark, the Block Party at The Banks just outside the ballpark, or collaborating with Findlay Market for the Opening Day Parade, there’s something fun for everyone.
3) Community Involvement
The Reds realized they had something special with Opening Day and capitalized on it by partnering with organizations and people in the community. The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade is the prime example of this. With nearly 200 organizations marching in the parade and tens of thousands of fans lining up throughout OTR and downtown to cheer them on, the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade is perhaps the most celebrated annual parade in Cincinnati.
The Reds Community Fund Charity Block Party at The Banks is also a major hit. The Banks is a sea of red full of people enjoying good food, great beer, and awesome live entertainment. All proceeds from this event support the Reds MLB Youth Academy.
It doesn’t stop with just these official partnerships and events. The Cincinnati business and nonprofit communities have latched on to the citywide enthusiasm of Opening Day by hosting tons of events throughout the city like the MadTree Opening Day on the Square Supporting Give Back Cincinnati. Cincinnati’s breweries have taken advantage of this by brewing their own baseball themed beers like the MadTree Rounding Third and Rhinegeist Hustle just in time for Opening Day.
When a brand gives its audience the opportunity to get involved, its audience gets more excited and engaged. Reds Opening Day capturing the excitement of the entire city is the cumulation of many years of finding creative ways to engage with the Cincinnati community.
4) Building Hype Over Time
Many Reds fans were disappointed last year when the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade was scheduled several days after Opening Day. That combined with terrible weather that caused the Opening Day game to be rescheduled made Opening Day 2018 a mess to say the least.
So, the Reds started their campaign of building hype by announcing that the parade and the game will be reunited on the same day on Thursday, March 28th. Cincinnati rejoiced.
Following the announcement that was music to all Reds fans’ ears, the Reds and Findlay Market announced events and special guests – like MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred serving as the Grand Marshal of this year’s parade – in a coordinated fashion to keep the hype growing.
When brands plan for an event, product launch, or another form of exciting news, it’s important to build out a marketing and communications campaign timeline with strategically selected dates and milestones that will keep your audience engaged as you guide them through a desired journey.
Rounding Third and Heading Home…
The huge success and city-wide pride of the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day serves as a reminder that brands should continue celebrating their history and story while also looking ahead at opportunities to build stronger relationships with their audience and create improved experiences for them.
Just because something is working today, it doesn’t mean that it’ll stay that way forever. With our increasingly fast-paced world, brands can’t afford to be lazy and static. If the Reds and Findlay Market didn’t adapt to meet their audience’s evolving wants and needs, Opening Day in Cincinnati would be just a blip on the radar like in other cities.
Honor your history and story, but always think about what you can do to build stronger relationships with your audience and to keep them coming back to you. Look ahead at how you can create innovative new experiences for your audience, and create strategies to guide them along your desired journey.