3 day celebration around the Major League Baseball All-Star game in Minneapolis featuring food from the best restaurants in Minneapolis/St. Paul and a Hot Dog Derby with a handful of the best chefs across the country.

CHALLENGE

Create a three day culinary-focused experience, within MLB Sponsor Zone, during the All-Star Game in Minneapolis for Major League Baseball and Pepsi.

SOLUTION

As part of the MLB All-Star Summer Pepsi Block Party, The Connect Group curated a three day culinary program to align with the Futures Game, Home Run Derby and All-Star Game. TCG wrapped ve (5) existing Food trucks with MLB/Pepsi branding and served food from some of the best chefs and restaurants in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region. Serving lunch (12 -2pm) and pre-game dinner 3pm-7pm), we featured ve different restaurants/chefs each session, all of whom offered up tasty bites inspired by the All-Star Game and Major League Baseball. While the majority of the chefs were local, we did bring in several nationally-recognized chefs to amplify the messaging, PR and add an extra level of engagement. These chefs included:

  • Andrew Zimmern (Minneapolis, MN) - Host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods

  • Nicholas Elmi (Philadelphia, PA) - Winner, Top Chef Season 11

  • Bryan Caswell (Houston, TX) - Food & Wine Best New Chef, 2009

  • Graham Elliot (Chicago, IL) - Judge, MasterChef

  • Michelle Bernstein (Miami, FL) - James Beard Award Winner

On Monday, July 14th, in advance of the Gillette Home Run Derby, we created a MLB Hot Dog Derby competition. Chefs Zimmern, Elmi, Caswell, Elliot, and the Taste of Target Field Truck all created their own one-of-a-kind hot dogs to be judged by fans and a panel of judges that included St.Paul Magazine restaurant critic Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Dwight “Doc” Gooden, a four-time MLB All-Star and three-time World Series champion and Ted from Minneapolis (fan from the crowd).

 

RESULTS

 

  • First culinary specific sponsor activation executed by Major League Baseball

  • In addition to Celebrity chefs, we featured more than 20 of the best Minneapolis/St. Paul chefs and restaurants

  • MLB and Pepsi were thrilled with the increased level of engagement and lifestyle dimension the culinary component brought to the table

  • More than 35,000 visited the MLB All-Star Summer Pepsi Block party

  • Competition between celebrity chefs for the coveted Hot Dog Derby trophy garnered millions of impressions via twitter

  • Generated incremental media awareness from non-sports publications including multiple “foodie” outlets

  • Initial year of culinary offering laid the groundwork for future programs to take life in a bigger and more comprehensive manner