Championship Parades and How Franchises Celebrate with Their Publics

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Championship parades bring the whole city to a standstill. Photo by Griszka Niewiadomski

Watching your team win a championship is the ultimate dream of every sports fanatic. The confetti, the trophies, the awkward kind of/maybe/probably name-drops of companies you have stakes in. Nothing feels better than reveling in your team’s climb to the top.

Last week, the Denver Broncos captured Super Bowl 50 and with that, the opportunity to host one of the largest parties in sports: A Championship Parade.

With streets and sidewalks shut down for the event, over one million fans stuffed the streets and Civic Center Park of Denver to celebrate, listen to members of the organization speak and catch a glimpse of the Lombardi trophy. An event of such magnitude requires a lot of communication between an organization and its publics. These events are used by franchises as ways to express the organizations’ gratitude to its supporters and allow them to celebrate together. For instance, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock roared to those in attendance last Tuesday “Let the nation hear you! You are world champions! Make … some … noise!” The Broncos purposely used the mayor to express its thanks because it roots the organization into the fibers of the city and strengthens its special connections with the community. It is always important for an organization to acknowledge the importance its publics have in the successes it finds because without them, there is no franchise.

My first taste as a champion came last Fall when my favorite baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, broke through and won the World Series for the first time in 30 years after falling just short the year before. Even after I spent over $200 on champions emblazoned clothing, my thirst for celebration lived on. Going to school in Eugene, Ore., close to 2,000 miles away from Kansas City, Mo., there was obviously no way for me to celebrate alongside the reportedly 800,000 people who packed downtown that day. To put that number and excitement in perspective, Kansas City has a population of 467,000. Thankfully in this day and age, I watched the rally from the comforts of my home thanks to a live stream of the events by the Fox 4 affiliate in Kansas City.

I will always remember the images from that day and how outside of select restricted spaces, there was no visible standing room in the fields of Union Station where the ceremony ended. I hope the next time one of my favorite teams wins it all, I can be right there with the rest of my millions of friends celebrating the team’s efforts.