Rapid: PR for the New Stadium

Old Home – New Home

The iconic Viennese football club SK Rapid is carrying out a unique sports infrastructure project in Austria and is rebuilding its stadium in Hütteldorf, Vienna. During the construction of the new stadium, Ecker & Partner is supporting the record champion club with strategic communications consultancy, reputation management, neighbourhood communications and press relations. The objective: to use the new stadium to recharge the powerful Rapid brand in the minds of a wide audience (society, business, and politics). To this end, it is absolutely essential to deliver regular and transparent information about how the project is progressing to those interested, from local residents to sponsors and the media. The challenge: to cover the very special opportunities and risks involved with such a big construction project in such a way that the ground expansion meets with positive acceptance. In preparation for the assignment, detailed topic plans were drawn up to generate enthusiasm for the new stadium even among segments of the population who have no interest in football. With a complete crisis communications plan that included training and scenarios, we were well equipped to deal with any problems even before the project commenced. Regular meetings with key journalists, bloggers and opinion leaders ensure that we have broad support while media cooperation agreements ensure a constant buzz, especially in local media. A large-scale members’ meeting helped gain universal support from fans and sponsors. And of course, the progress of construction work is documented online using text and images distributed on a variety of different channels.

Special information events complete with information material were organised for local residents and a service centre and newsletter were set up. Furthermore, a regular direct mail campaign, an image film and site tours were organised. The most successful, and certainly the most memorable events, were the “demolition party” supported by Ecker & Partner, at which fans were able to take home souvenirs from the stadium, and the ground-breaking ceremony with the Austrian president, at which a “treasure chest” containing memories of Rapid’s long history were buried beneath the penalty spot. The result: a universally positive response to this “project of the century” across all target Groups.