D-backs host first Most Valuable Partner Awards
Club honors corporate sponsors with entertaining evening
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Lights.
The D-backs honored some of their biggest supporters Thursday night at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino with an Academy Award-like celebration fit for Hollywood. The first annual Most Valuable Partner Awards featured an evening of songs, dances, videos and jokes on stage. But the real stars of the night were corporate sponsors seated directly in front of the show.
The club gave the "DB" award in eight different categories: Brand Integration, Marketing Activation, Community Partnership, Fan/Customer Engagement, Rookie of the Year (first-year partnership), Lifetime Achievement and the Most Valuable Partner Award, given out in two divisions -- the Silver Slugger and the Gold Glove.
Gila River Casinos was given the Lifetime Achievement Award and was presented by D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick. John James, chief executive officer for Gila River Gaming Enterprises Inc., accepted the "DB."
"This is just overwhelming for us," James said. "The D-backs are such an outstanding organization and no organization does it better for their partners than the D-backs. Doing something like this for all of the partners and the community was an honor to be a part of. They build a synergy with all of the partners and unify us and make us very solid as a great organization. Some of the great organizations in baseball have done that and the D-backs do not take a back seat to anyone. They have gone above and beyond."
Chase won the "DB" for the Luis Gonzalez Community Champion Award and Pepsi won the "DB" for Brand Integration. APS was named the winner of the D-backs Ambassador Award and the "DB" for Marketing Activation was given to Chevrolet.
"It was absolutely revolutionary in my opinion and I think it's something that other teams are going to do," D-backs president Derrick Hall said. "I think we will start to see it in other leagues. This was a great way to incorporate all of our partnerships and talk about the branding and integration of it. ...I couldn't be prouder of our staff for what we put on. Everything we do is like this."
Just like the Academy Awards, the club's MVP Awards offered a red-carpet entrance to start the celebration, followed by an opening music number and monologue by Hall, who also served as the night's emcee.
"It was fun once I got out there and started going with it," Hall said. "I know everybody in the room so there was a comfort level but I'll do anything for the organization. That's how I feel. This was Academy Awards-style presentation and I am just thrilled."
The night featured comedy sketches and a performance of the original song "Sell me More" by the club's corporate sponsorship group. The "In Memoriam" video dedicated to the "sponsors that are no longer with us" also delighted the crowd. D-backs employees and season-ticket holders also attended the event.
"I want to give him a hard time but I can't because Derrick did an amazing job performing," said D-backs center fielder Chris Young, who along with Ian Kennedy, Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Roberts served as presenters. "He really had a great time with it. It's always good to be able to mingle with all the sponsors because there are so many people involved in the organization and part of this community. To bring them all together where everybody can dress up and have a lot of fun was a special night."
D-backs television broadcasters Daron Sutton and Mark Grace presented the Rookie of the Year Award to Streets of New York. Sanderson Ford won the MVP Award in the Silver Slugger category while Pepsi won the MVP Award in the Gold Glove category.
"We accomplished everything we wanted to accomplish," D-backs executive vice president Cullen Maxey said. "If our partners activate more and do what they need to do selling their product using our brand and using the access they have got, then it's so good for them and so good for us. It's a win-win. They understood all of the activation categories and were able to mingle. It was lot of fun."