The Time is Now: An Oral History of ‘Support Las Vegas Dome’
By Jason Holte, Social Media Manager
I’ve had the opportunity to have a lot of fun in my time working in social media, but nothing compares to the Support Las Vegas Dome project. From January 2016 through January of this year, a ton of great people at MassMedia came together to do something truly special. In light of today’s landmark announcement that the NFL has approved the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, here is my best attempt to highlight the amazing work from our team.
The Early Days: Building a Brand and a Following
The biggest journeys begin with a single step, and for Support Las Vegas Dome, that was certainly the case. Once we got the green light to begin work, our Creative team immediately started designing a logo and our Digital team began designing a website and securing social media handles. Our website needed to strike a fine balance between being visually striking and conveying a ton of vital information about the stadium project, while still being easy to navigate. The final design was above and beyond our initial vision, with easy access to all of the financial and community benefits associated with the stadium arrayed over a panoramic vista of the Las Vegas Strip. On social media, we knew we needed a rallying cry that would resonate and allow us to aggregate stadium conversations. Among numerous strong suggestions, we eventually settled on #DoTheDomeThing.
We needed all of our digital touchpoints to be up and running ahead of our first tentpole event: the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee (SNTIC) meeting on March 24. Everything came together exactly according to plan, and our team attended the meeting to provide coverage for our social media audience and canvass the crowd with branded cards displaying our website and social media handles. We were off and running.
Tech and Timing, or How Facebook Live Started a Movement
Without a doubt, our social media growth directly coincided with Facebook’s increased focus on Facebook Live. The first SNTIC meeting was definitely an “all hands on deck” approach as we deployed a two-person social media team to live Tweet key points from the meeting, with additional monitoring support back in our office. While we were largely satisfied with how the first meeting played out, we knew we needed to better utilize technology to connect our fans with the stadium process.
A funny thing happened when we live-streamed a six-hour government meeting to an audience of football fans: people watched, and engaged with, every second of our coverage. With a live feed of the actual stadium discussion taking place, we were free to engage one-on-one with our fans and detractors and create a dialogue that would continue over the next several months. It was a no-brainer to continue to leverage Facebook Live moving forward.
April 28, 2016 put Support Las Vegas Dome on the map. A star-studded panel including Raiders’ Owner Mark Davis and soccer legend David Beckham showed up armed with years of institutional knowledge of major sporting events and entertainment and a spectacular promotional video highlighting what a move by the team could mean for the state of Nevada, narrated by many prominent local figures. We were able to deploy that video on our channels immediately after it premiered on the screens in the meeting hall, and when our social accounts got embedded in national news stories about the meeting our growth was explosive. Overnight the nation was introduced to the stadium team’s message: For Las Vegas and the NFL, the time is now.
The Press Tour
The summer saw more committee meetings and monthly updates from the stadium team on everything from financial models to stadium locations to a magnificent 3D rendering of the proposed stadium, or course set to AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” Amid vocal opposition to the stadium proposal in certain circles, our Media Relations team organized a highly successful local press tour for Sands executive Andy Abboud to address any misconceptions about the project.
This effort culminated in another crucial event for our team and for the project, when we worked with a newly opened Raider bar in town to have Abboud interviewed on-location and meet local fans during a watch party for a Raider preseason game. Our team orchestrated the media coverage and collected well over 200 signatures on a petition demonstrating local support for the stadium. These football-hungry fans would soon be given an opportunity to put their personal stamps on the stadium process.
Mobilizing Our Fan Base
The stadium’s approval by the SNTIC in September, combined with the timeline necessary for the Raiders to secure NFL approval, put a lot of pressure on Governor Sandoval to convene a special legislative session to vote on the proposal. When he did just that, we set out to give our fans a voice in the proceedings. Implementing a user-friendly tool on our website to enable stadium supporters to contact their legislators, we set out to promote that tool to our email list and social media followers, and the results were overwhelming. With many of the legislators turning to social media to gauge public support for the bill, this outpouring of positive feedback proved instrumental in demonstrating where the people of Las Vegas stood.
Recognition and Thoughts on the Move
In the fall of 2016, we were honored with PRSA Pinnacle Awards for website design and social media. Our goal from the beginning was simple: Connecting local fans with the stadium process in a way that allowed their voices to be heard. At our peak, we were a trusted source for the latest developments and a place for stadium supporters to gather and share in the building excitement. To have the two main digital arms of this project recognized as some of the best work produced in the Valley in 2016 was a tremendous accomplishment.
Support Las Vegas Dome also earned a LVIMA Award for best email campaign for our work leading up to the legislative special session. Promoting the petition tool on our website to our email database resulted in over 2,500 letters of support for the stadium project being delivered to state representatives. Of the 63 legislators who eventually voted on the stadium bill, 61 received a letter from our fans.
To paraphrase Mark Davis from the April 28 SNTIC meeting, the Raiders set out to make the NFL an offer they couldn’t refuse for why they should make the Silver State the Silver-and-Black State. That the NFL has now voted to approve relocation, and any part we may have played in helping show the league that Las Vegas is ready for an NFL franchise, is extraordinary. Although we would have loved to have been there for the final push towards league approval, we are all tremendously proud of the work that we put into this project. We can’t wait to welcome the Las Vegas Raiders to town in a few short years.