April 1 was Opening Day at American Family Field™, home of the Milwaukee Brewers™
April 1 was Opening Day for Major League baseball. It’s a time-honored tradition where hope springs eternal for fans and the teams and the players they cheer for.
This season, one year removed from the cancellation of games due to COVID-19 pandemic, Opening Day festivities had an extra special feel, especially for American Family Insurance.
Fans attending or watching Milwaukee Brewers action on TV experienced the debut of American Family Field (and a 6-5 Brewers win at the bottom of the 10th inning against the Minnesota Twins). Watching the action on the diamond, they saw the American Family Field logo displayed prominently above the centerfield scoreboard.
The logo can also be seen in many locations, from main signs – like the scoreboard and main exterior gate – to outside of suites, on staff uniforms and even on 20,000 cup holders throughout the stadium.
Bernie’s Chalet redesigned
The logo also figures prominently on Bernie Brewer’s redesigned chalet.
The design, which was done in collaboration with the Brewers, pays homage to something fans loved in the past at Milwaukee County Stadium. The Chalet is a nod to that history along with new, fresh elements. Watch this episode of Mascot Makeover: Chalet Edition.
A new video board element allows American Family to connect with fans during the game. American Family will be the one sponsor of the chalet for the next 15 years .
And on Opening Day, American Family Chair and CEO Jack Salzwedel was in Bernie’s Chalet as the honorary Brewers flag waver, as the Brewers came up to bat in the first inning, The Brewers will be selecting someone to wave the flag for each of their 81 home games.
Opening Day arrives after two years of planning
Opening Day was the culmination of two years of planning and work by American Family and the Brewers to get the stadium prepared and fans excited about Opening Day since the partnership was announced in January 2019.
Watch this video highlighting the expanded partnership:
A warm welcome for Brewers fans
Although tailgating is not currently allowed at the ballpark, American Family offered “Welcome Kits” to the first 2,021 fans who signed up to receive them. Kits were recently safely distributed in locations across Wisconsin.
The kits included classic baseball snacks (peanuts and Cracker Jacks), a baseball card of Brewers outfielder and American Family brand ambassador Christian Yelich, and co-branded items, such as drink tumbler and American Family Field inaugural pin. A select number of kits included an autographed Christian Yelich item, a ticket gift card and a Yelich bobblehead.
Preview Week at American Family Field
American Family participated in Brewers Preview Week leading up to Opening Day, where media were invited to the stadium and provided information about the upcoming season.
President and CEO-Elect Bill Westrate and Brewers President of Business Operations Rick Schlesinger answered questions about the partnership on the first day of Preview Week, March 24. The media were also given a tour of the stadium. Many reporters had not been inside the stadium in more than a year, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Westrate spoke on American Family’s excitement about the partnership and deep appreciation and commitment to Milwaukee and Wisconsin. He talked about how that commitment includes partnering with organizations to make investments in programs and services that create a better community for all.
Example of those investments include facilities, programs and scholarships at Milwaukee universities and colleges creating opportunities for diverse students and funding for Milwaukee Public Schools to provide equipment and internet access to allow children to have what they need for successful virtual learning. Recently, two $44,000 donations in Hank Aaron’s memory were made to provide scholarships started by his Chasing the Dream Foundation to assist Milwaukee students.
Joint community initiative announced
Monday, March 29 of Preview Week was dedicated to information around community initiatives. Leana Nakielski, American Family community and social impact director, and Cecelia Gore, executive director of the Brewers Community Foundation, announced the new Fearless Dreamer Scholarship Program for Milwaukee graduating high school seniors .
The scholarship program will provide financial support and programming for students pursuing STEM majors (science-technology-engineering-math).
Christian Yelich will also contribute $35,000 to the scholarship program.
More community initiatives will be announced in the coming months.
New marketing campaign featuring Christian Yelich debuts
Also debuting on Opening Day was an integrated marketing campaign featuring Christian Yelich. The 2018 National League MVP appears in a new TV ad about boy who is riding in a car and dreaming about becoming a major league player, in the image of the Brewers’ star.
The new auto campaign includes digital, social, radio, TV and direct-mail components and the Brewers’ radio and TV networks.
See the new TV ad here:
New fan space in concourse
A new concourse fan space will offer fans an opportunity to interact with the brand and win different prizes throughout the season. The concourse features digital screens that will run American Family video footage as well as a collage that blends the brand, the Brewers and the city of Milwaukee.
In an effort to support the Brewers and COVID-19 protocols, the season will start with no interactive experience to reduce fan traffic in the concourse. However, as the season progresses, an interactive, touchless baseball gaming experience will be added as well as an opportunity for seat upgrades, prizing and more. American Family will work closely with the Brewers to determine opportunities to evolve the fan experience.
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About the American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 254 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The General, Homesite and Main Street America Insurance. Across these companies the group has more than 13,200 employees nationwide.