We are a proud sponsor of The Baltimore Ravens and have collaborated with this Baltimore team for over fifteen years, completing numerous projects as well as helping them achieve a vivid cultural identity.
Following the departure of the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis, the city of Baltimore had been without a professional football franchise for over fifteen years. With many fans still upset by the team’s departure, the Baltimore Ravens looked to develop a brand aligning themselves with the community and the citizens of Baltimore. The Ravens were forced to build a team from the NFL Draft and players released from other teams. Rather than look at this as a negative, they looked at their roster and players as a way to reach out to the community and build a game-day experience inviting fans to be part of the team introductions.
The Baltimore Ravens were fortunate to draft one of the NFL’s most recognizable players – Ray Lewis, but still struggled to have the stands full at kickoff. With the help of Ray Lewis and Image Engineering, the Baltimore Ravens developed what has become known around the league as “Ravens Tunnel”, which in-turn has led to the creation of the “Countdown to Kickoff” and “Ravenstown” campaigns.
The Ravens wanted a brand aligning the city with the team. To accomplish this goal, they wanted to create an exciting signature event unique to the market, one that would develop a tradition for both the fans and the players. The Ravens organization and the players recognized the importance of investing in a game day experience that could not be duplicated by the surrounding competition.
The strategy in creating this type of game day entertainment and excitement led to the hiring of Image Engineering. Image became tasks with designing a player introduction involving the fans and the players to create a brand deeply rooted in the city of Baltimore. Image Engineering’s extensive experience in set design and player introductions, coupled with a background in marketing and branding campaigns, led to the creation of the “Ravens Tunnel,” the “Countdown to Kickoff,” and the “Ravenstown” campaigns.
While most teams traditionally focused strictly on fireworks as a way to introduce the team, Image Engineering looked to create a platform to showcase the players’ personalities and make the team introduction part of the game day experience. This led to the creation of a customized set-piece featuring LED raven eyes and a fog curtain signaling to the fans their team was ready to take the field. In addition to this iconic set piece, flames and C02 units were combined with fireworks as each starter is announced. This electric atmosphere was punctuated by individual dance and pregame rituals brought by the players, now replicated by the fans in the stands. The player introductions have become so popular that this set piece has been used by the Ravens outside of the stadium, including at game watch parties and for community service events.
The Baltimore Ravens have become the most popular team in the city, recording sellouts for every game at M&T Bank Stadium. Forbes has recently ranked the Ravens, which 12 years ago was an expansion team, as the #10 most valuable NFL franchise. Sports Illustrated also ranked the Ravens as having the #5 best NFL game day atmosphere. Fans who once showed up midway through the first quarter, now hustle to their seats to watch the Ravens take the field. Even opposing fans make an effort to see the pregame introductions at M&T Bank Stadium. The team introductions have allowed the Ravens to generate additional revenue by incorporating Geico as a corporate sponsor to the team entrance tunnel. This signage has become extremely valuable inventory due to the number of television shots and photographs taken of the player entrance.
In addition to creating revenue and an electric game day atmosphere, the Ravens have captivated a city and developed a brand identity that makes fans proud. This was evident by the influx of calls to Image Engineering to project images and light up city buildings in support of the team. The Ravens’ investment in game day special effect spectacle has helped them develop a culture of loyal fans for years to come.