It was the 25th anniversary of “The Sandlot” this week, and the Milwaukee Brewers took the opportunity to recreate an iconic scene with players from the team. The video went viral, and was covered by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and more. I spoke with Caitlin Moyer, Director of New Media, and Evan Entler, Senior Manager of Marketing and Advertising, about how they put it all together.
Q: What has been your marketing and creative strategy during spring training?
The goal of the marketing and creative team is to give fans fun baseball related content after the off-season, and get them excited about the upcoming season. We try to focus on highlighting the personalities of the players, and introducing the new roster to our fans. We brainstorm as many fun and creative ideas as we can, and they can range from referee impersonations to March Madness content.
During Spring Training we use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook most frequently to engage with our fans, and will provide short bursts of fun behind the scenes footage from the team in the dugout and going through training camp.
For live video and short form video we primarily use Snapchat, but Instagram Stories are more engaging than Snapchat this year. New technology is giving our fans better access to our players and team, and spring training is a great time to experiment with new ways to capture content and engage with fans.
Q: What team members did you bring down for spring training?
We brought a total of six people to spring training over the course of two weeks. We had two from social media and four from video production. The video production team went down a few days before the players reported to get everything set up, because once camp starts everything has to happen in a very condensed window.
"New technology is giving our fans better access to our players and team, and Spring Training is a great time to experiment with new ways to capture content and engage with fans."
Q: What was your schedule like?
Intense! Every morning we would get to the facilities by 5:30 am to capture sunrises and the players arriving. We would then get everything set up for the morning shoots and by 8:00 am would be working on the produced content. One person would be directing and the other filming. We would shoot until the players’ meeting and practice, and then go outside to capture drills and workouts. After practice we would go back inside to film green screen content and produce content like “The Sandlot” video.
Around 2:00-3:00 pm we would go back to the hotel to log and edit the footage from the day, and get the equipment charged up again. It’s amazing how much footage we capture, and it can be overwhelming to sort through everything. Because of the sheer volume, it can be really challenging to produce short videos. Next year we may have someone cataloguing the footage as we shoot to make turnarounds easier at the end of the day.
Q: How did you plan the content you produced during spring training?
We have been able to hone our spring training strategy over the years, and plan out content that includes in-game features, commercial shoots, team photos, scoreboard content, sponsor giveaways, and player profiles. On the social side we plan out a giant list of content we want to capture at camp and with the players. We typically can only get 40% of what we want, as it can be difficult getting the players involved with their busy schedule. They can be good sports though, especially when it came to filming “The Sandlot” video!
Q: Ok now to “The Sandlot”! How long did the entire production take?
The pre-production process took about eight hours. Across three people we put together a shot sheet, script, and sourcing the costumes. We studies the scene from the movie to make sure we had each shot down, and made a list of the props and outfits we needed for the players.
Production took only about two hours. We had to move quickly because of the player’s schedules, but it also went smoothly because the players were so engaged and having fun with it. We used shotgun mics with boomsticks for the audio, and got the player’s audio afterward in case we couldn’t get the quality we wanted from the shoot itself.
Post-production took about fifteen hours, and Kelley Sibley from our team was able to edit everything.
"Production took only about two hours. We had to move quickly because of the player’s schedules, but it also went smoothly because the players were so engaged and having fun with it"
Q: What did the review process look like?
We went through two rounds of reviews, and it was pretty easy because we planned everything out beforehand and had the shot list. The initial round of review was done by our internal team, and then we sent it to the marketing team and different team stakeholders.
Q: What was the distribution strategy?
We knew that it was going to be big because the players did such a good job with the shoot, and people love “The Sandlot”. We’ve also found Sunday nights are a really good night for this type of content, and we were leading into an off day where there would be less content and noise. We posted it natively to Twitter and Facebook, and posted stills with a link on Instagram. We posted it on YouTube as well, but most of our video is posted directly to our website.
Q: What kind of business results are you getting from this piece of content?
The goal of the video was to create a fun shareable piece of content. We hit all of the brand goals, and generated press from the Today Show, TMZ, ESPN, and others. We also got a ton of local media coverage and reach around the country.
"The goal of the video was to create a fun shareable piece of content. We hit all of the brand goals, and generated press from the Today Show, TMZ, ESPN, and others."
The Brewers did a shot-for-shot remake of a scene from The Sandlot and it's spectacular https://t.co/RKOjkoq9IT— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 19, 2018
A huge thank you to Caitlin and Evan for taking the time for an interview, and best of luck this season to the Milwaukee Brewers!