HOW TO STREAMLINE MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES DURING CHALLENGING TIMES
CHRIS POPE of RANCHO CUCAMONGA QUAKES
In this week’s episode of the Press Play Podcast, host Derek Gerber talked with Chris Pope, the Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. The Quakes, one of the Los Angelos Dodgers’ Minor League affiliates, was forced to forfeit its 2020 season to COVID-19 along with the rest of Minor League Baseball. Rather than sitting back and waiting patiently for the opportunity to host baseball games again, Pope and the Quakes made use of the extra time by streamlining several of their systems, preparing the organization for future growth and success.
“When I’m selling a sponsorship, I’m not selling a national corporate deal. I’m selling that you are part of our community…”
EPISODE 16 HIGHLIGHTS
“COVID was really bad for a lot of people, but hopefully we’re able to take a lot of the downside or things we weren’t doing great and make them really good for this year. And now we can take that stuff and move it into the 2022 season and make 2022 even better than it was pre-pandemic.” (13:35)
In the months leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, far before anyone knew what was in store, Pope and the Quakes set a goal of modernizing many of their internal systems. They had an email list, an online ticket platform, and a social media presence, all while keeping paper records. None of their platforms communicated, and they didn’t have a system set up to coordinate their CRM.
When the pandemic shut down plans for the upcoming season, Pope needed to find a way to recoup the value his corporate partners had already paid for. He found his answer in the organization’s recently modernized infrastructure. Ads that used to be placed in paper programs and on the back of ticket stubs were moved to the online game day programs, which were accessible through QR codes all around the ballpark. The new ad placements include links to each partner’s website, a much larger value than the previous placements.
Similarly, Pope focuses his energy on prioritizing relationships with his partners. Rather than merely sponsoring the team, businesses enter into partnerships with the Quakes. As a cornerstone of the Southern California community, the Quakes stand hand-in-hand with their partners, helping their community along the way.
“When I’m selling a sponsorship, I’m not selling a national corporate deal. I’m selling that you are part of our community – Like, we are a staple of the community, and now you’re branding yourself with a staple of the community who’s been here for almost 30 years. We’re going to hold hands and everybody’s going to hopefully love us both.” (18:42)
To set the Quakes gameday environment apart in the saturated LA market, the organization boasts an intimate ballpark experience where fans can meet players and interact with the game in a unique way. During pre-pandemic times, two players would greet fans at the main entrance to the ballpark when the gates opened. Pope hopes to bring this tradition back when it is safe. Ultimately, the organization caters to fans, creating a fun, engaging experience for all.
“We have an internal motto and it’s called ‘Fun, Wow, Yes.’ We’re going to provide a fun experience. We’re going to make sure the fan says, ‘Wow.’ And we’re going to say, ‘Yes,’ whenever we possibly can.” (22:16)
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(0:41) Introducing Chris Pope and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
(3:22) Adapting to today’s norms
(9:29) Maintaining value for partners during the pandemic
(15:58) How is the Quakes organization setting itself apart?
(19:19) The push for a new video board
(24:26) What’s next for Chris and the Quakes?
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