Under Armour Chairman Kevin Plank and his team reached out to Maroon PR needing strategic assistance with a special announcement. That announcement, that the historic Sagamore Farm would be transitioning from training and breeding Thoroughbred horses to a working farm where corn and rye would be grown for Plank’s award-winning Sagamore Rye. The farm will be transitioning by the end of 2020 and Sagamore Racing’s final race was to be at the prestigious Breeder’s Cup Classic with prized horse Global Campaign. It was an announcement worth of media and amplification in an effort to confirm Plank’s commitment to the historic farm in Maryland.
Plank purchased Sagamore Farm in 2007. In 2010, almost ten years to the day, Sagamore Racing burst on the scene when 46-1 underdog Shared Account stunned the racing world with a win at the Breeder’s Cup. Now after a great run of wins and experiences, the farm is transitioning and Shared Account’s victory is being bookended with highly regarded Global Campaign’s run at the Breeder’s Cup. Maroon PR understood that this announcement would be significant both locally and in the horse racing world so it would involve a multi-pronged approach.
Maroon PR first invited two local journalists, one in print/online and the other in radio, to speak with Plank in advance of the announcement going to the masses with the understanding that their stories would be coordinated to go live when the press release was shared widely. In addition, there was a need for a well-produced asset that could be shared on social media. Maroon PR shot, edited and produced a video that included Kevin Plank’s voice and vision as well as stunning footage of the beautiful property and racing memories. The video would not only be shared by Plank but by a select group of his other companies and brands including Weller Development that is developing Port Covington in South Baltimore where Plank is invested, as well as Sagamore Racing and Sagamore Spirit.
Finally, with the Breeder’s Cup coming days after this announcement Maroon PR retained a videographer to attend the race with Plank in Keeneland, KY, created a second social media video focused on racing that was shared by Plank the day of the race, and was ready with an announcement should Global Campaign fare well in the race.
Upon announcement, the story of the farm’s transition ran across all local media outlets and was widely covered by the horse racing industry. In addition, the video received an overwhelmingly positive response on Plank’s Instagram.
In the final race for Sagamore, Racing Global Campaign finished third place in a world class field.
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Strategy & Background
The Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill marks a new chapter for the State's rich horse and equestrian tradition. One of only two 5 Star events in the United States, and seventh worldwide, the prestigious 5 Star (CCI5*) designation is the pinnacle of the sport of Eventing, best described as an equestrian triathlon. Knowing that the event has been well attended by Equestrian enthusiasts, MPR was tasked with growing awareness for the Maryland 5 Start and the sport of Eventing to a wider general event-goer audience, particularly in Baltimore and the surrounding Counties. MPR developed a comprehensive earned, owned and paid media campaign focused on our strong media relationships to drive awareness in key markets and ultimately drive ticket sales across the four days of the event.
Our tactics included:
- A targeted media outreach plan using compelling pitches and a cadence of announcements to drive credibility and secure consistent media coverage leading up to the event.
- Creation of a unique media day in the Baltimore market where we took Eventing athletes - rider & horse - to the local television stations for a visual and interactive interview opportunity.
- Development & execution of strategic media buy encompassing digital, television, radio, print, and outdoor, using a mix of tactics to reach the target audience in the Mid-Atlantic region.
- Development & execution of email marketing strategy, along with handling messaging and deployment of the emails
- Media preview day on the Wednesday before the 4-day event to give media early access to the event.
- Proactive media relations efforts before and during the event, including the credentialing process, encouraging media attendance by both trade and mainstream media, and managing the press center onsite.
- General event attendance grew by 18% compared to 2022
- A total of 101 broadcast and online (print/digital) stories garnered
- Secured coverage across all four Baltimore TV stations throughout the campaign (WMAR, WBAL, WBFF and WJZ), through various pitching efforts.
- Secured multiple radio interviews on top news-talk radio station WBAL Radio and with WDEL Radio in Wilmington, Delaware, the region’s top news and information station.
- Deployed 37 email campaigns resulting in 195,233 total opens for a 47% Open Rate and 12,734 clicks to the website resulting in a 2.5% click-through-rate (CTR).
- Over 25 Million paid media impressions generated through advertising campaigns and media partners.