Bruce Merrin’s Celebrity Speakers & Entertainment, www.brucemerrinscelebrityspeakers.com is celebrating our 42 year anniversary. I want to share a secret with you. Booking sports stars at your special events will make you an MVP. Are you tired of the sound of one hand clapping? Book a famous athlete and you can become a superstar!
Planning an event takes meticulous concentration and focus. The first sports star we booked was Jackie Robinson, the legendary Brooklyn Dodger Hall of Famer. We were approached by Bank of America to plan their annual event. Their desire was to create excitement for their corporate gala and to also spearhead some national publicity for B of A. I began by asking the Certified Meeting Planner many questions. What city was the event being staged. What time? What is the demographics of the attendees? Did they establish a theme for the festivities?
I found out that their date In Los Angeles was right before the World Series would kick off. So I recommended a baseball themed event. When I suggested Jackie Robinson, they were thrilled. I told them that Jackie would sign baseballs
For the top level executives, and that he would also pose for photos with some of Bank of America’s elite customers and branch managers. I arranged for a press party to introduce Jackie to the media before the gala began. We received saturation publicity coverage. The President of B of A told me it was the most successful event they ever produced.
Continuing the Dodgers baseball theme, we all remember one of the most famous home runs in World Series history. Kirk Gibson hit a home run that led the Dodgers to beat the NY Yankees in the World series. Kirk was badly injured when he came to the plate, limping badly. Yet he rocketed the game winning thunderous home run. He instantly became a sports hero legend. Kirk was our client. I approached the biggest and most successful auto dealership in the San Fernando Valley, Galpin Motors, and suggested a series of personal appearances and meet and greets with Kirk Gibson. Every time he appeared, it created a media frenzy. All of the local and national tv crews showed up. The President of Galpin Motors told me they sold more cars that month than ever before. All thanks to my idea. Why? For corporate meetings, sales meetings, banquets, annual parties and corporate retreats, booking a sports star is a winner!
One more Dodger story. When I was living in Calabasas, Steve Garvey was my neighbor and close friend. He was the most popular Dodger on the team. The Dodgers had just beaten the Yankees in the World Series, when Clarion, the popular stereo company, approached me. They were implementing an annual worldwide sales meeting for their VIP customers. They were also producing a trade show event. Since Steve Garvey was famous internationally, and is one of the best sports presenters that I book, I suggested that Garvey conduct the keynote speaking engagement one evening, and then attend the trade show, and in front of the booth, autograph baseballs and pose for photos. Steve received a thunderous standing ovation at his speaking presentation and at the trade show, had literally hundreds of people lined up, continuously, to meet him. The Clarion Exec VP told me they had more people attend their booth, than any of their competitors.
Remember when Bruce Jenner won the Decathlon, and received the Gold Medal? I was consistently booking him for speaking engagements. I approached the meeting planners and event planners at Remy Martin Cognac in New York City. Their VSOP Cognac had just won some prestigious Gold Medal Awards. Yes. You guessed it. I suggested a GOLD MEDAL party and banquet for their most prestigious customers. What a success. Everyone wanted to meet Bruce Jenner. The event was standing room only. I was a hero!
In Chicago, I was approached by Brachs Candy company. They were staging a mega trade show event in the Windy City. They wanted attention. Their desire was to stand out. Instantly I had an idea. One of the greatest football players of all time is Walter Payton! His nickname was SWEETS!!!!! So we booked Walter, and the crowds were so big, the Fire Department had to arrive to limit the amount of people in the building!!! Yes our client was very happy about the huge turnout and the resulting international publicity.
Jamaal “Silk” Wilkes, starred on two UCLA NCAA Championship teams, 3 NBA Championship teams with the L.A. Lakers, and one 1 NBA Championship team with the Golden State Warriors. He is also a member of the NBA Hall of Fame. Nordstroms had just released an exclusive line of designer silk dresses that were breathtaking. I reached out to the Certified Meeting Planner, with the idea of Jamaal “Silk” Wilkes serving as their keynote speaker and then staging store appearances at carefully selected retail outlets. My idea was that that MEN would show up at the stores with their wives and girl friends, and that this would spark $ale$$$$. Boy did this idea work. I was jumping backflips.
Sportscasters can attract attention too, and make you an MVP in the meeting planning industry. Recently the largest international Rotary Convention was being held in Memphis, Tennessee at the Peabody Hotel. The Certified Meeting Planner told me that their closing dinner would be attended mainly by gentlemen who were 60-70 years old. I asked if they were sports fans. When he answered affirmatively, I immediately suggested Dick Enberg, who has broadcast NFL Games, UCLA basketball, Wimbledon, the French Open, The Olympics and Major League Baseball games. They flipped over the idea. Dick received several standing ovations. They booked him again!
So for your corporate events, association meetings, trade shows and sales meetings, booking a sports star can definitely make you an MVP. With over four decades of experience in this industry, I can always rely on sports stars to bring happiness to our clients. I was born in Lousiville,Kentucky. Imagine how thrilled I was when I booked Muhammad Ali, also born in Louisville, for
A banquet with Microsoft executives. You can knock out your clients. Book a sports star!!!!!!