Andrea is a Product Marketing Manager who specializes in creating meaningful go-to-market messaging. She is a self-proclaimed "enthusiasm enthusiast," particularly when it comes to the Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, all forms of cake and anything goldendoodle-related.
It’s well established that the fan experience at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium is unlike any other. From the tailgating energy and the in-venue playlist of fan-favorite songs to full-stadium chants and traditional touchdown fireworks, the Chiefs organization knows what the fans expect.
This week’s Super Bowl victory parade and rally were no different. The organization delivered a remarkable experience emblematic of that deep fan connection. Though not a traditional game day (and not even held at Arrowhead), the Chiefs created championship moments for their fans at every turn. Here’s how.
They delivered surprise-and-delights
It was the little things that made a big difference in bringing the celebration to life. The driving beat of the iconic Chiefs drumline bookended the procession, immediately taking the energy of the crowd up a notch as though celebrating an Arrowhead first down.
A near-constant flurry of red and yellow confetti gave the entire event an air of Instagram-worthy specialness. Sponsorship partner Sprint engaged fans by handing out co-branded “We’re the champs!” signs that further painted the event red and gave fans a free memento to take home from the historic celebration.
Parade-goers delighted in seeing members of the 1969 championship team riding with the 2019 team to celebrate both victories. It was a sentimental, multi-generational nod to where the organization--and its dedicated fan base--has been, how far it has come and where it is yet to go.
The hype surrounding this event was palpable, and the team delivered. Fans got to hear speeches of gratitude directly from some of their favorite players in a more relaxed, conversational setting. The official Chiefs social media channels also documented personality-packed content in real time throughout the day, allowing fans to relish in and share celebratory moments alongside the players.
The logistics of coordinating so many players, vendors, media and other participants (not to mention variables like traffic and winter weather) could have easily derailed the entire event. But the parade and rally proceeded on time, per the team and city’s commitment, leaving fans to be fully present in their enjoyment.
They celebrated fans as “the 12th man”
Even for a non-game event, Chiefs fans did what they do best -- they tailgated. They tailgated overnight, camping in downtown parking lots in below-freezing temperatures, to be the first to support the team along the parade route or at the rally venue.
The Chiefs celebrated this level of fan dedication by encouraging players to disembark the championship-branded double-decker buses and interact directly with the crowd, pausing for photo opps and even allowing fans to touch the revered Lombardi trophy. A relatively long parade route lent itself to a crowd that was only a few rows deep so that each fan felt close to the players and in the heart of the action.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes even launched footballs into the arms of young fans and tossed cold beers to amused camera operators. The young QB and his teammates truly brought everyone into the fold, sharing the victory as much with the fans as with one another.
THAT’S OUR QUARTERBACK! Patrick Mahomes is all bundled up and on the back of a double-decker bus, but he still has the arm! #ChiefsParade#ChiefsKingdom
Creating a winning experience is all about celebrating your fans as your most valuable asset. It doesn’t take an endless budget or an over-the-top execution. The experience doesn’t even have to take place in your team’s venue. Focus on the details that are meaningful to your fans to strengthen their bond with your team. Traditions that fans know and love, surprise appearances from past players, integrating thoughtful and festive extras, or even simply exceeding baseline expectations, can make the difference between a regular moment and a remarkable one, converting even the most fair-weather fan into a fanatic.