by Ed Lallo/Louisiana Seafood News
Nothing says fall like professional football and good food. In most cities tailgating consists of a BBQ filled with a variety of different meats, but New Orleans is not most cities. Here Saints football means just one thing, a chance to fill the barbie with delicious fresh seafood.
Louisiana seafood is moving from the parking lot BBQ’s of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to the field, restaurants and press boxes inside.
The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board approved a marketing partnership with the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL) in a special board meeting held at the board’s offices in New Orleans.
The proposal for the 2012 season will make Louisiana Seafood the official seafood for the New Orleans Saints and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
This partnership will put the Louisiana Seafood brand in the homes of more than 125 million televised Saints viewers, and more than 800,000 black and gold clad fans filling dome to capacity during the NFL’s regular season.
“This opportunity to partner with one of the premier teams in the NFL came from a regional preseason marketing trial,” explained Seafood Board director Ewell Smith. “We did a three game preseason buy with Cox Sport Television to have our logo appear on the first-down marker every time a team moved the chains.”
The preseason marketing trail was a huge success, reaching more than 2.5 millions viewers at an approximate cost of $16,500 per game. The publicity standout event occurred the night Smith delivered seafood prepared by executive Chef Lenny Martinsen of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The press box and the announcing crew went wild over the food and chewing announcers interviewed Smith for more than two minutes.
“After that segment my phone wouldn’t stop ringing,” explained Smith. “I got calls from Texas to Florida.”
The televised interview also caught the attention of the New Orleans Saints.
The agreement includes LED board announcements and signage throughout the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. In addition, local chefs will once again have the opportunity to be featured on television broadcasts, increasing awareness across the region and nation of the wonderful flavor and quality of Louisiana seafood.
“As a board we are here to represent the hardworking men and women of Louisiana’s fishing communities,” said board member John Folse during a lengthy discussion of the proposal. “We also have to remember part of our responsibilities is also to promote and market the fruits of their labor. This is a no brainer, I am 100% behind this proposed partnership.”
In addition, only Louisiana Seafood will be served in all restaurants inside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and all stadium signage will remain in place during the upcoming Superbowl to played in New Orleans.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Louisiana seafood to be aligned with one of the top football teams in the Nation,” said Harlon Pearce, chairman of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. “We look forward to a great season of Saints and Seafood.”
The program will be funded by BP marketing dollars given to the Louisiana Seafood industry to help regain lost market share following the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010.
Commenting on Facebook, Louisiana shrimper Chester Herring felt the board had taken a step in the right direction. “Things like this will slowly but steadily raise our market prices where they are suppose to be,” he said.