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Row to London
Row to London is a grassroots multi-faceted marketing and branding campaign designed to engage the rowing community in supporting our athletes as they train for the 2012 Olympic Games. Our goal is twofold; first, to have every rower and fan across America become part of our team by actively supporting our athletes and second, to build excitement among our fanbase as we get closer to the Olympic rowing events scheduled to begin July 28 in Eton, Great Britain.
By providing a marketing platform for media engagement, the long-term objective of the Row to London campaign is to drive awareness of our sport and continue to grow our audience and increase the numbers of rowers across America.
Program elements include an interactive Team/Club Challenge, Boathouse/Regatta events, Ambassador Program, National Public Relations Campaign, Branded Merchandise Campaign with Boathouse Sports, NBC Viewing Parties, Special Events and a Fan-Based Social Media Effort.
Rowing clubs, organizations, collegiate teams and regattas are invited to form a team to raise awareness and support for our Olympic hopefuls. Each organization will engage its membership to support the team through an online fundraising challenge via a dedicated Row to London portal. These efforts may be in support of an individual hometown/alumni athlete, for a specific boat or for the overall team. All funds raised will be dispensed accordingly. Many clubs also will host Row to London events/NBC viewing parties prior to the Games.
Methods for fundraising and activation will be decided by each team, but may include private donations, fundraising events or enlisting local corporate support. The program ideally will heighten awareness for rowing in the community and drive new interest for the USRowing National Learn to Row Day on June 2.
Several teams are already on board as anchor organizations and will be included in the program announcement. Each team will be recognized at the 2012 Golden Oars Awards Dinner on November 14 at the New York Athletic Club. These teams also will be incorporated into the Row to London national public relations campaign, and USRowing will work with each team to create an event to help promote the program at their club.
The organizations will be divided by size of membership, and the two teams that raise the most in their category will have the opportunity to host two members of the 2012 Olympic team at their club in the fall for a fantasy camp, learn to row event and BBQ/reception.
The program is open to all teams and organizations, and there will be an online portal designated on Donor Pages for easy access and registration. To form a team, join a team or make a donation, visit http://natrowing.donorpages.com/RowtoLondon/.
Row to London Anchor Teams
- Capital Rowing Club – Washington, D.C.
- Community Rowing, Inc. – Boston, Mass.
- Florida Scholastic Rowing Association (FSRA)/Sarasota Rowing – Fla.
- New York Athletic Club – New York, N.Y.
- Oakland Strokes – Oakland, Calif.
- Oklahoma City Riversport – Oklahoma City, Okla.
- Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA) – Princeton, N.J.
- San Diego Crew Classic – San Diego, Calif.
- Saugatuck Rowing Club – Westport, Conn.
- Vesper Boat Club – Philadelphia, Pa.
- Yale Crew Association – New Haven, Conn.
The Rowing Ambassador program is designed to utilize Olympians and former national team members as spokespeople for the sport and the Row to London campaign. The program will leverage not only their passion for rowing, but their experiences competing on an international stage. They will serve as true champions for our sport. In addition to providing content for the website with their real-life storylines and success stories, the Rowing Ambassadors will speak to the media and serve as on-site event hosts to help spread the word of the benefits of rowing. With limited access to our athletes as they continue their rigorous training, our Rowing Ambassadors will step in and fill an important role in raising the level of awareness of USRowing and the Row to London campaign.
Rowing Ambassadors (list will continue to evolve):
- Bill Becklean - Olympian ‘56
- Peter Cipollone - Olympian ‘00, ‘04
- Christine Collins - Olympian ‘00
- Alison Cox - Olympian ‘04
- Tom Darling - Olympian ‘80, ‘84, ‘88
- Jeff Klepacki - Olympian ‘92, ‘96, ‘00
- James W. Koven - Olympian ‘96, ‘00
- Christopher Liwski - World Champion ‘02, ‘07 and Olympic alternate - ‘04, ‘08
- Cindy Matthes - Olympian ‘92
- Mary Mazzio - Olympian ‘92
National Public Relations Campaign
A dedicated public relations team is working to raise the level of awareness of USRowing in the U.S. as well as abroad. The multi-tiered PR plan is designed to generate publicity in international, national, and regional sports and lifestyle media.
An integrated campaign highlights the rich history and heritage of the sport, spotlighting the athleticism, motivation, advanced education and dedication of its athletes. Included in plan is the rollout of the Row to London campaign, featuring stories on athletes, club programs and the Rowing Ambassadors.
Row to London with Boathouse Sports
Made possible by our long-time partner, Boathouse Sports, the rowing community will have the opportunity to create a piece of clothing to be worn by the Olympic team. In this “Gear Up Our Team” contest, participants will design a reversible tank and post their designs. Fans will then vote for their favorite design. The winning design will be featured on the tank, which will be given to members of the 2012 Olympic team to be worn in London. The tank will also be available to the rowing community as part of the exclusive Row to London collection offered online and at regattas this spring/summer. All proceeds from sales from the Row to London/Boathouse store will benefit the U.S. Olympic Team.
The rowing community will come together throughout the country for special events focused on the Row to London initiative, beginning March 31-April 1 with the 2012 San Diego Crew Classic. Two events will bring Princeton and the surrounding business communities together in support of the Olympic team: the USRowing Golf Outing on June 4 at Beden’s Brook in Skillman, N.J., and the Go for the Gold 5k on June 24 at Mercer County Park. Row to London Kick-Off pre-Games celebrations and naming events will be held across the country including the 100 Days Out Celebration on April 18 in San Francisco, Calif., and in New York City. Post-Olympics, our athletes will return to the U.S. to a welcome home tour in September and October. The Row to London campaign concludes at the 2012 Golden Oars Awards Dinner on November 14 at the New York Athletic Club, where the 2012 Olympians will be honored and at the Annual USRowing Convention November 29-December 2 in Oklahoma City, Okla., one of the USRowing Training Centers.
NBC Breakfast of Champions
Partnering with NBC Sports, Row to London will culminate in viewing parties at designated rowing clubs, offices and locations popular within the rowing community during the week of the rowing events at the Olympic Games. All events will be streamed live online and others will be broadcast live. The goal is to maximize the number of people who watch the races in support of our team and enhance the experience by bringing groups together.
Fan-Based Social Media Effort
In addition to the online Row to London Team Challenge and Gear Up Our Team contest, fans will have the opportunity to show their support by posting good luck messages to the athletes on a dedicated Facebook page. Beginning in June, we will identify Row to London “Fans of the Week” who demonstrate the most pride in the team and outwardly exhibit support. These fans will be recognized and have the opportunity to attend the Golden Oars Awards Dinner.
For more information, contact Beth Kohl at email@example.com.