EA SPORTS Innovation Lab

The Challenge: 

Video game leader EA SPORTS is committed to the development of a digital media cluster in Central Florida.  The brand’s Orlando studio, Electronic Arts-Tiburon, has formed a strong alliance with the University of Central Florida (UCF) and helped launch the college’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA), in the heart of the future Creative Village in Downtown Orlando.  FIEA has trained hundreds of game creators through its graduate-level program … and many of them now work at EA-Tiburon.  EA SPORTS decided to take the program a step further and entered into another agreement with UCF whereby EA SPORTS would fully support the cost, construction and staffing of a lab facility at FIEA, where select students would have an invaluable opportunity to work as paid interns side-by-side with EA SPORTS professionals.

Curley & Pynn was tasked with developing public awareness to unveil and celebrate the creation of the EA SPORTS Innovation Lab and to thank the leaders who had continued to champion EA SPORTS’ goal of growing the digital media cluster.

The Solution: 

Curley & Pynn engaged with the leadership of UCF and FIEA, and also reached out to the governor’s and mayor’s offices to confirm their support.  Research indicated that a media event was the best strategy, as it would showcase the finished product and reach a broader audience. Objectives included engaging highly visible government and community leaders in support of the development of the digital media cluster and to secure both print and broadcast news coverage with the Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Business Journal as primary targets.

The team developed a ribbon-cutting event and news conference working with EA’s government relations team to secure participation by Florida Gov. Rick Scott as the speaker.    As an added draw, Curley & Pynn focused on the “cool factor” of EA’s technology with a media alert focusing completely on the “reveal” of the new lab.

The firm managed all aspects of the event, including speaker lineup and remarks, fact sheets and news releases, media kit photos, photo opportunities and guided tours.  On the afternoon prior to the event (as dictated by governor’s office security protocol), Curley & Pynn went into a full-court press on pitching media that the Governor would participate.   The firm worked closely with UCF to leverage the university’s well-established education and business media contacts.

The Results: 

At least six government officials attended the event, with three as active participants.  Six news media outlets were represented as well, including the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Business Journal, Florida Technology Journal, WKMG, WFTV and WESH.  News coverage resulted in 12 stories (not including news placement on stakeholder and community partner websites).  Several government officials and reporters even tweeted during the event as information was revealed.

A content analysis of news coverage showed a positive outlook on the effort to grow Central Florida’s digital cluster through education and the creation of a pipeline into one of the world’s most renowned game studios.