If you didn’t catch the cutting of the “log slab” on Portlandia, don’t worry. Though Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein didn’t exactly capture Portland’s sports culture, PDX has been known as Soccer City USA since 1975. That’s the year the Portland Timbers were founded, and the team’s tradition — sawing a round from a victory log behind the north goal — took hold.
Since joining Major League Soccer in 2011, the Timbers have twice reached the league’s championship (2015, 2018) and once won MLS Cup in 2015. “The club has sold out every regular-season and playoff match since joining MLS,” says Marc Kostic, Director of Marketing for the Timbers, tells ToneDen.
The stadium that the Timbers sell out is Providence Park, also home to the Portland Thorns FC, the city’s professional women’s soccer team. “I think the biggest and best example of how this club has grown over the past few years is an $85 million dollar expansion and renovation project to Providence Park that was completed this June,” Kostic says.
With 4,000 new seats and dozens of other updates, the stadium provides one of the best experiences in the league. Kostic juggles a variety of marketing responsibilities, but lately he’s been getting assists from ToneDen.
“One of our objectives in working with ToneDen was to reach new possible fans,” he says. “With the expanded capacity of the stadium, we have the opportunity to have people experience a match for the first time.”
Turning Passion into Profession
Working in sports was a goal of Kostic’s from the time he was in high school. Now, as a member of the Timbers organization, Kostic oversees a social media team, works on digital marketing campaigns, participates on the franchises’ editorial group, and heads up major event campaigns like those around the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup.
This season will be Kostic’s thirteenth with the Timbers. “We are new to the platform as of this summer and used it for a few months,” he says.
“I believe, that anyone working in events and events sales could benefit from working with ToneDen.”
On a pilot with ToneDen, Kostic discovered the platform’s ad creation tools let him build “successful, multi-layered campaigns easier and faster than … natively in Facebook Business Manager.” It was his experience with Dynamic Event Ad campaigns — in other words, campaigns for multiple games — that proved really successful.
Timbers Remarketing DEA
Dynamic Event Ads (DEAs) are perfect for sports franchises, where an entire calendar of events can easily be advertised.
“With the help of ToneDen,” Kostic says, “we set up our Timbers Remarketing DEA campaign to promote home matches in the months of August and September — our heaviest concentration of home events in the 2019 season. This allowed us to be more holistic in an ad approach that was cost effective, strategically promoting multiple games in one campaign.”
Without the hassle of building a unique campaign for each game, Kostic could be more strategic about his ad creative when approaching the club’s remarketing efforts.
“Using dynamic photographs from home games, featuring a mixture of fans, atmosphere and players as the focus,” he says, “we built out our events catalog on Facebook Business Manager and tied in SeatGeek — our ticketing partner.”
The results? The Timbers have so far seen a 50x return on ad spend.
Reaching New Fans and New ROAs
Before working with ToneDen, the Timbers hadn’t run a DEA campaign. Kostic is glad that he gave it a shot. “We were pleased with the return on our spend and the sales this particular campaign was able to generate.”
Now, he’d advise ToneDen to anyone looking to build complex campaigns, as well as to others in the sports industries:
“We were able to build more robust campaigns, targeting multiple audiences, and the combination of campaigns running simultaneously showed a strong return, and we think helped us reach potential new fans.”