After a glorious 2010 baseball season that culminated with the San Francisco Giants winning the city’s first ever World Series, Comcast Sports Network needed a way to keep residents interested in Giants coverage. Based on the insight that Baby Booms often follow 9 months after momentous events, we started a search for the “Giants World Championship Baby born exactly 9 months after the Giants clinched it. Though the team didn’t make the playoffs in 2011, CSN ratings during the promotional period improved by 29% over the same period in 2010.
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area knows what it means to be a Giants fan and gives fans access to everything they need to know about Giants baseball. Coming off the high of winning the World Series, they asked us to develop season long sparks that would engage Giants fans on a more personal level. The goal was to keep the momentum of the win going and encourage viewership of Giants game on their network. From this brief, the Search for the World Championship Baby was created. On November 1, 2010 the Giants won the World Series. People celebrated and no doubt some celebrations got out of hand. On August 1, 2011, the official nine month anniversary, a Giants World Series baby would be born. We wanted to celebrate that birth. To engage with fans, we promoted the contest during Giants games though in game mentions and promo spots and on CSN's homepage. We invited mothers to be to a baby shower held before a Giants game and asked them to share their stories online. We received 921 entries over the course of 3 and a half weeks. On August 1, eight minutes after the official nine month anniversary, we were able to crown the World Championship Baby. At the last Giants home game of the season, CSN presented the winning parents and baby with a birth certificate signed by the 2010 championship team, a commemorative brick at AT&T park and a gift card for $2010.
These days, Fair Weather Fan-it is is an all too common affliction. No sport is spared its characteristic ebb and flow, coming in and out after a championship like the tide. When Super Bowls, Championships and World Series are won, throngs of people are overjoyed with their newfound team identification; but when thing go even slightly south? Well, it’s like it never happened. Some cities are more immune to the ravages of this disease: places like Green Bay, Chicago, and Boston. But one city could well be the ground zero for Fair Weather Fan-itis: San Francisco. No one knows exactly why, but when a team is winning, like the Giants were in 2010, it seems like the entire Bay Area became a hotbed of baseball fans. But inevitably, a slump sets in, and then everyone goes mountain biking. The 2010 San Francisco Giants presented the perfect storm. They won their first World Series in over 5 decades, the first World Series win for the city ever. The chances that the Giants would repeat this season with all the drama and excitement culminating with a World Series victory were slim. No one knew that better than the local broadcaster of Giants games, Comcast Sports Network (CSN). How could they maintain the huge gains in audience they earned in 2010 into 2011?
CSN viewership ratings increased during the campaign period by an average of 29% versus prior year (Source: CSN Ratings, 7/5/10-8/25/10 and 7/5/11-8/25/11) CSN Viewership ratings increased between 2010 and 2011 across the Giants pre-game show, Giants games, and SportsNet Central (local game scores and highlights). As the program came to an end in August, the Giants playoff hopes began to fade as they lost 18 of 29 games that month. (Source: CSN, 7/5/10-8/25/10 and 7/5/11-8/25/11). Despite this less than stellar performance, CSN achieved a 5.47 share during broadcasts of Giants games. Our goal was only to maintain viewership. We ended up helping CSN increase it by 29%. (Source: CSN Ratings, 7/5/11-8/25/11) The search for the Giants World Championship Baby launched with a bang, driving record visitors to CSN’s website. It also went out with a bang: in the last month of the campaign, the website notched a full 60% more visits compared to November 2010, the month the Giants actually won the World Series! (Source: CSN, November 2010 and August 2011)
Our goal was merely to sustain the record levels of interest from the championship season. Instead, we ended up crashing their website with the unexpected increase in traffic. Within two days of the launch, the program had generated close to 200 tweets mentioning the Giants World Championship Baby and over 250,000 earned media impressions (Source: Agency Research, Twitter, 7/5/11-7/8/11). During this same 48 hours, 29,373 unique visitors visited the CSN site and made the program the number one story, causing it to crash multiple times (Source: CSN, July 2011). Throughout August, the website experienced nearly 2.3M visits, 60% more than the number of visits in November 2010, the month the Giants won it all (Source: CSN, August 2011). Success was fueled by participating moms and social media communities with strong online fan growth Encouraging Giants fans and our viewers to participate in the contest and spread the word about it was the crux of our campaign and truly drove our success. During the one month campaign, we had 929 moms enter (Source: CSN), 48% of all expectant moms in the Bay Area darning that time (Source: Agency Research, City Health Records). Additionally, during that one month, CSN Bay Area Facebook fans increased by 6% and Twitter followers increased by 19% (Source: CSN, July 2011). Separately, the online video version of the TV spot garnered over 2,000 Facebook likes with almost 1,000 likes within the first two days of launch (Source: CSN, July 2011).