Owning a Holiday

Since we are in the midst of the holiday season, I was thinking about the different holidays there are throughout the year, and how some leagues and teams have tried to “own” a specific holiday by associated their product with it.  They can do this through special events, or my featuring must-see games on specific dates.  Here is the list that I have so far, including holidays that are “up for grabs.”

  • New Year’s Day:  NHL (“The Winter Classic”) and NCAA Football (multiple bowl games, especially the Rose Bowl)
  • Valentine’s Day:  Up for grabs!
  • St. Patrick’s Day:  Up for grabs!
  • Memorial Day: The Indianapolis 500 (always on Memorial Day weekend)
  • Independence Day:  MLB (summer is dominated by baseball, and they always feature big games on this day, closely followed by the All-Star game the following weekend)
  • Columbus Day: Up for grabs!
  • Halloween: Up for grabs!
  • Veterans Day: Up for grabs!
  • Thanksgiving:  NFL, and specifically the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys (2-3 traditional games on TV every year)
  • Christmas Day:  NBA (televising multiple games throughout the day, including a history of “must-see” games, such as the first Kobe/Shaq game and this year’s Celtics/Lakers game)

 I put this list together pretty quickly, so if you know of other teams or leagues that really try to “own” a specific holiday, let me know and I will update the list.  I think this is a great strategy for sports properties to try and use.  Most holidays have a natural excitement and enthusiasm to them, and if you can build a connection between your brand and the holiday, it should lead to lots of positive public exposure.

3 thoughts on “Owning a Holiday

  • December 22, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    A lot of the “smaller” holidays you mentioned here had a strong WWF/E affiliation during the early 90s (mainly Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s). Despite the excitement from the holiday, the ratings boost is there strictly for the fact that most families end up watching these events after dinner, gifts, etc. Its also an advertising gold mine, especially Thanksgiving NFL game commercials.

  • December 22, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    The NHL typical boasts a large slate of games on Boxing Day, December 26th (not recognized in the US, but big in Canada). That’s due in part to a two-day shutdown of the league for Christmas Eve and Christmas day…

  • December 23, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    I know they don’t always coincide, but I’ve spent a few St. Patty’s days enjoying the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament. My high school always had that Thursday or Friday off and some colleges are on spring break or at the end of a term, depending on their schedules.

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