Play Ball: How Budweiser is Bringing The Stadium Experience to Fans Outside the Stadium

After a long Winter, the world is attempting to approach a sense of normalcy. People are itching to get outside.

MLB is accommodating to this itch for normalcy by allowing fans to games this year. Allowing fans to come back into stadiums is a positive for the country’s psyche and for in-game advertising.

“The idea is that we had open space otherwise sitting empty [during games] and that filling it…would be helpful to our broadcast partners,” says Chris Marinak, MLB executive vice-president of strategy, technology, and innovation. “This is really about helping out our partners and their sponsors in what is a very strange year.”

The pandemic pushed MLB and its sponsors to evolve their digital advertising faster than planned. With a year off from typical in-stadium advertising, advertisers had time to develop ideas.

Budweiser is taking its advertising experience outside the stadium. A Budweiser pop-up stadium experience will bring the stadium experience to those fans who aren’t able to get into the actual stadium.

Budweiser is testing two cities—Chicago and New York. Chicago’s experience will be in Wrigleyville which is near the stadium, while New York’s experience will be near the Lower East Side in Manhattan which is relatively far from Yankee stadium in the Bronx. The locations are a great way to connect to portions of the city’s community for a 1:1 experience between fan and brand. In fact, the hot Budweiser dog vendors will be expanded throughout several neighborhoods in NYC.

The pop up stadiums will include:

  • hot dogs (of course)
  • tokens for a free Budweiser at one of the local bars
  • raffles to potentially win free tickets to future games.

A few more legs to the campaign include a microsite for fans to compete in the raffle, and a Twitter contest (#BudPitchYourPitch) for a chance to throw out the first pitch at games.

Remember, not all people go to baseball games to watch baseball. Perhaps more than any other sport, baseball stadiums are unique character backdrops for games. They are nearly living entities carved into the fabric of each city. Fans attend games for the full show: the national anthem, in-between innings entertainment, 7th inning stretch—all things best experienced in person.

Budweiser’s multi-channel approach is a nice nod to the fact that we are not yet back to normalcy while connecting the brand to the community, and leveraging out of home and digital. Perhaps their stadium experience will come to your neighborhood soon!

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