In sports, there is typically only one winner. Unless you count the BCS, there is always a champion and countless teams who fell just short.
Despite that, sports teams will achieve a level of brand affinity that the late Steve Jobs could only dream about. If you disagree, go count the number of shirts, jerseys and hats that you’ve purchased over the course of your lifetime.
After spending the early parts of my professional career in sports and lifetime as a fan, I thought I had seen it all – wedding proposals assisted by a player, 2 inches ending a Super Bowl bid, walk-off homers and 70+ hour weeks. But I am glad to say I was wrong…
Thanks to social media, I got to hear the story of one fan and one player who made a giant tear-jerking story that Apple would kill to have as a case study.
Earlier this offseason, bruising running back Brandon Jacobs signed a free agent contract with the 49ers for significant coin. While that might seem like old-hat, 6-year old Joseph Armento, took their team not being able to afford Jacobs to heart and emptied his piggybank and sent all $3.36 to Jacobs with a heartfelt letter (via his mom).
Now while a letter like that would sound like a long shot to make it to the player, Jacobs saw it and Tweeted out:
Instead of leaving “may” as a vague statement, the 2-time Super Bowl Champion, visited with the young fan on a trip back to New Jersey.
While you might say that this was just a publicity stunt or jab at a former team, take off your cynic hat for a second and put on your branding cap.
While Jacobs might be playing across the country, for the NFL this is the kind of story Walt Disney would only dream up. Not only is this a feel good moment, but there is money to be made.
On one hand, fans might start snapping up Jacobs’ new Niners jersey because he’s a feel-good player, but on the PR end it goes to show that the NFL has players who care for their fans…
So now that we’re closing, how many dollars have you spent on your favorite team?