The New York Red Bulls, whose Major League Soccer season is restarting in July, recently held their first Virtual Marketing Partner Summit to kick off a series of question-and-answer sessions about the club and its future during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the Red Bulls’ season will resume in a tournament-style format from July 8 to Aug. 11 at the Walt Disney World resort outside Orlando, Florida, Red Bull Arena will not be hosting matches for the foreseeable future.
Through the summit, NYRB General Manager Marc de Grandpre, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Joe Stetson and Senior Director of Marketing Partnerships Darren Meyer spoke to 37 different companies represented by 75 people — including 17 companies based in New Jersey — about the club’s plans.
“Our No. 1 priority will be providing the healthiest and safest environment for partners, fans and employees,” de Grandpre said during the summit. “The goal will be to implement the highest safety standard at Red Bull Arena. Working with local sports and entertainment venues including Prudential Center and MetLife (Stadium) to gain best safety practices. Also, working with Delaware North and our venue partners to create the best and most enjoyable experience going forward.”
Other topics included the ways the Red Bulls will utilize youth programs and community initiatives to provide value for partners, developing best practices for health and safety, evolving partnerships and assisting the community, and more.
Participants in the summit included Red Bulls partners such as Affinity Federal Credit Union, Bayer, Brisas Empanadas, Hackensack Meridian Health, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, New Jersey Lottery, Provident Bank, QuickChek and Verizon, among others.
Stetson noted that the club has still been able to create marketing “wins” for partners during the pandemic, from celebrating front-line heroes to a “greatest moments” series of Red Bulls highlights and a “Train @ Home” series for youth players, all of which integrated marketing allies.
Meyer made clear that the individual clubs, rather than the league, have the power to make partnership decisions, and the Red Bulls aim to continue to work with partners to find success during the pandemic.
“It’s really all up to the clubs,” he said. “Our organization will continue to remain nimble to provide the best activation for our marketing partners, so that their needs and goals are fully delivered.”