Seattle Kraken officially became the 32nd franchise in the National Hockey League (one of the major professional sports leagues in North America) in Summer 2020 after Fearey worked to get the team off the ground, from managing communications on the early investing partners and city planning phase to the announcement of its brand-new arena and team name. Fearey managed press conferences with the mayor and future ownership, rolled out the unveiling of corporate sponsors, and even traveled to Georgia to attend the NHL Board of Governors Meeting, when the team became official.
In 2022, the Kraken engaged Fearey to help refresh and revitalize its community relations efforts amid an expected playoff push and greater attention being paid to the team after its first year.
Fearey determined with the Kraken that the best way to do this in short order would be securing representatives from the organization – ranging from team broadcasters Everett Fitzhugh and John Forslund to CEO Tod Leiweke – opportunities to connect with influential groups in the Puget Sound area.
Additionally, we aimed to create a series of engaging game watch parties at popular sports bars throughout the Seattle area.
Fearey began by working with the Kraken to determine its goals, which included creating a more visible presence in the community as well as working to expand the fanbase so that current season ticket holders would re-up their tickets when they had to renew.
On the speaking opportunity front, we then leveraged our own experience and community relationships to identify organizations and associations that would put key Kraken figures in front of audiences that would contribute to the above goals. Direct outreach followed, with Fearey offering up compelling Kraken officials to share their unique perspectives on the team’s launch and first two seasons.
For the community watch parties, we ideated and executed a promotional campaign for the Hockey Happy Hour Series watch parties (with each game and bar having a different theme) through deliverables we created for print digital media, and social media.
In terms of the Hockey Happy Hour Series, they were a major success, with fans coming out to show support for the team with their community and participating in activities ranging from a live blues band and Valentine’s Day giveaways to Super Bowl Squares. Additionally, the parties helped deepen relationships between the Kraken and partner bars, and even helped develop new relationships.
In just a few months, Fearey secured more than the client expected—a triumph of speaking opportunities for members of the Kraken organization, with influential groups including Seattle Chamber of Commerce, CityClub Seattle, 101 Club, Seattle Lions Club, Seattle Executives Association, and the Rainier Club, with even more in the planning stages. Word-of-mouth on the Kraken organization’s presence in the community began to be prevalent, right in the middle of the team’s surprise second-round playoff finish.
Fearey even arranged for the Kraken organization to host Seattle Chamber members at the arena, including a behind-the-scenes peek at the locker rooms and more; Fearey has also booked a DEI-focused event with Everett Fitzhugh, the first full-time African American broadcaster in NHL history.