Originally the Orange Blossom Classic (OBC) was a postseason college football game held between 1933 and 1978, featuring Florida A&M and another historically black school in an unofficial championship, commonly referred to as the “Black National Championship” game. The inaugural OBC was played in front of 2,000 fans at a “blacks-only” ballpark. Matchups continued on the gridiron, between FAMU and other HBCU’s, for 45 years consecutively in Jacksonville, Tampa, Tallahassee, and Miami. After a 43-year hiatus, the Orange Blossom Classic Committee and the City of Miami Gardens announced the revival of the historic game in 2020. Due to the global pandemic, the relaunch was postponed to 2021. The 47th Annual Orange Blossom Classic, featuring Florida A&M University’s inaugural season in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) against Jackson State University, is scheduled to take place at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sunday, September 5, 2021.
The Orange Blossom Classic was originally a postseason college football game held between 1933 and 1978, featuring Florida A&M and another historically black school, commonly referred to as the “Black National Championship” game. After a 43-year hiatus, the 47th Annual Orange Blossom Classic, featuring Florida A&M University’s inaugural season in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) against Jackson State University, took place at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sunday, September 5, 2021.
During Labor Day weekend in 2021, OBC returned with Florida A&M University and Jackson State University after their final face-off in 2018. As ‘One Big Community’, residents, visitors, small businesses, community leaders, corporate partners and students, alumni and staff from Florida A&M University and Jackson State University came together to celebrate excellence and bring attention to the power of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The Orange Blossom Classic was re-established to enhance the visibility of Historically Black Colleges & Universities in the enriched community of Miami Gardens. The organization’s main goal is to raise scholarship funds for youth interested in pursuing post-secondary educational opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“I speak about resilience because in order for this event to have the impact that it had, all started with a person who remained committed, despite the odds. There was a greater ‘why’ and that’s the part that I get so excited about because our kids, our student athletes have to see that resilience.”
Managing Partner, Premier Choice Group
Premier Choice Group was hired as a marketing consultant and press representative of The Orange Blossom Classic Committee, providing them with strategies, plans and implementation within the fields of public relations, marketing, branding and event design and management.
“It was a great honor to bring back the Orange Blossom Classic after a 42 year hiatus. The PCG Team as well as the OBC Committee put all of their effort in and despite the highs and lows, we brought it together and were an amazing team.”
Digital Marketing Manager, Premier Choice Group
From 1933 to 1978, OBC was recognized as the unofficial “Black National Championship” game. The organization had developed a reputation for attracting professional scouts who often recruited student athletes for professional football contracts after watching athletes play. This secured a legacy as the most important annual sporting event and the largest annual gathering of any kind for African Americans. After a 43- year hiatus, OBC returned in 2021 along with a new brand identity and presence.
PCG developed the revival’s brand strategy and identity for the new OBC Assets created included logo systems, brand colors, typography and other branded graphics that served as the foundation for brand and event collateral.
As a part of the brand’s return, Olley The Orange, a brand mascot, was born. Olley’s presence was vital in bringing OBC’s essence to the football game. Olley’s character was further bolstered by Olley Cam, a live streaming camera that followed Olley during the event providing an immersive experience for fans of the OBC.
After undergoing a transformation to mirror OBC’s new identity, the website hosts key information, updates, media placements and sponsored content. The website’s interactive design was created to become an experience for fans, supporters and participants of the OBC.
The awareness of the OBC’s return was driven by various media channels, including paid media placement in television, radio, print and online publications, which were based on the OBC’s target audiences and markets. PCG managed the media buy and negotiated barters as OBC’s lead agency. Advertising collateral, radio and video ads were produced in-house. Paid media efforts included placement in WHQT (Hot 105) radio, ESPN-U and the Westside Gazette (Broward County) newspaper.
Billboards were designed and activated as a tactic in the marketing strategy. To reach local markets, billboards were placed in cities such as Miami, Tampa, Tallahassee and Orlando.
Social media management started with an assessment of OBC’s digital partners and brand channels. Through this process, PCG then leveraged an already existing network of more than 380,000 audiences to bring exposure and traffic to the OBC brand and event. Further amplification was done through promotional videos, user generated content and live event feeds.
Social media management started with an assessment of OBC’s digital partners and brand channels. . Through this process, PCG then leveraged an already existing network of more than 380,000 audiences to bring exposure and traffic to the OBC brand and event. Further amplification was done through promotional videos, user generated content and live event feeds.
The integrated marketing strategy developed by PCG also included a series of email blasts sent to highly targeted audiences for maximum exposure. A/B testing was executed to identify the most effective variations and call to actions for the OBC audience. The e-mail campaigns promoted sales for OBC’s ticketed events, editorial and sponsored content.
One of the PR tactics for OBC’s revival included press conferences. PCG was responsible for three of them. One promoting the event, a pre-game conference and post-game conference, attended by all of the participating organizations. The conferences were highlighted and featured by several major local news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Global News Wire, CBS Miami, HBCU Gameday and more.
PCG represented OBC in identifying and negotiating with key sponsors, by developing pitch decks and managing rights and entitlements based on each sponsor’s investment.
PCG created co-branded assets for sponsors such as, co-branded logos, email marketing and social media posts to increase share of voice and visibility of the partnerships.
PCG developed several stadium graphics to show off OBC’s return and sponsor partners.
“Kendra asked us a question about how are we pitching the orange Blossom Classic, and I remember saying it’s very easy. We are the only Historically Black University Classic, that is playing in a pro stadium, with the city of Miami as its backdrop.”
CEO, Premier Choice Group
This invite-only event brought together leading minds in sports and entertainment to discuss cutting-edge topics in an educational setting. The event included networking opportunities for industry leaders and students to promote career growth and collaboration. The symposium featured NFL executives, celebrity movie producer Will Packer and entertainment mogul Cortez Bryant.
Attended by over 40 corporate partners’ HR managers and hiring agents, this event offered on-the-spot interviews and career assessments for attendees wishing to interact and network with reputable organizations.
Vice-Chairman Oliver G. Gilbert III welcomed visitors to the thriving community of Miami Gardens. Guests enjoyed afternoon refreshments at the Hard Rock Stadium located in Miami Gardens, FL. The Presidents of JSU and FAMU, community figures and celebrities listen to keynote speaker KJ Smith from Tyler Perry’s hit series, Sistas, as she delivers an inspiring message on the significance of the HBCU experience.
Marching bands are an integral part of the HBCU experience. The Orange Blossom Classic bought this tradition to guests front and center. Attendees were able to revel in the excitement of witnessing FAMU’s Marching 100 versus JSU’s Sonic Boom of The South for OBC’S Battle of The Bands.
“I was actually on the sidelines and it was the middle of half time. There was a moment where my son, my niece and other kids from the community ran out on the sidelines so that they could see the Marching 100 on the field. I turned the person next to me and said ‘This is what this is about, this is who it’s all for.”
Executive Director, Orange Blossom Classic
“I was actually on the sidelines and it was the middle of half time. There was a moment where my son and other kids from the community ran out on the sidelines so that they could see the Marching 100. I turned the person next to me and said ‘This is what this is about, this is who it’s all for.”
The OBC Parade set off the weekend of football, community, and celebration with this community event. Guests took in the sights and immersed themselves in an HBCU atmosphere.
The One Big Community Empowerment Fest and Health Village was packed with activities, including a fan zone and vendor spotlights. This exciting community event offered a space for fun, enrichment and education.
This spectacular show featured performances by Uncle Luke, JT Money, Ball Greezy, Trick Daddy and Trina.
Interactive tailgate entertainment with merchandise, food vendors, games, giveaways, and music from OBC’s official DJs.
“Teamwork makes the dream work. Our executive director had a dream, to bring back this historic classic. Everybody had their own piece of the puzzle to bring to this endeavor and we had a phenomenal weekend on September the 5th.”
Senior Director of Operations, Orange Blossom Classic
Senior Director of Operations, OBC
Billboards in Jacksonville, Jackson, MS, Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg resulted in 2.2M Spots delivered and 67.2M Impressions
National Radio Advertising via the Rickey Smiley Show targeting Adults 18+ with a net reach of 1.6M and 3.3M total unique Impressions
Multi-market radio advertising in Jacksonville, Jackson, MS, Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg resulted in 2.1K Spots, Reach of 243K and 5.8 Frequency
South Florida Radio Advertising resulted in a combined total of 729 Spots and 595M Gross Impressions
Billboards = 2.2M Spots & 67.2M Impressions
National Radio Advertising = 1.6M Reach & 3.3M total unique Impressions
Multi-market radio advertising = 2.1K Spots, 243K Reach & 5.8 Frequency
South Florida Radio Advertising = 729 Spots and 595M Gross Impressions
The Orange Blossom Classic was televised on ESPN2 with a total viewership on Game Day of 707K
Celebrating Black Men in Sports and Entertainment, a virtual event held on Facebook garnered 4,500 Views
HBCU Digital Partners resulted in 906K Total Impressions
Game Day total audience Reach for in-game assets resulted in 30K
ESPN2 total viewership of 707K
Celebrating Black Men in Sports and Entertainment event garnered 4,500 Views
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