New York Urban League

Clearer messaging to reignite support for an annual signature event


In the summer of 2010, the New York Urban League (NYUL) approached The Wakeman Agency to provide media relations services for its 40th Annual Football Classic. The game, which is considered one of NYUL’s hallmark events, provides funds for its Whitney M. Young, Jr., scholarship program. In recent years, the game had lost its luster and attendance was down by more than 20%.

With 30 days to go before the event, NYUL retained The Wakeman Agency  with the directive to generate pre-event and event day awareness via media relations. While a dedicated group of core attendees had attended the event for many years, it was not generating the level of excitement that it had in past years, thereby not attracting new supporters. This was primarily a problem of messaging. One of the key messages that was not being communicated to the NYUL core audiences was the importance of their support for the organization as a whole as well as the ticket purchases that provided direct revenue for the scholarship fund.

The Wakeman Agency focused on simple ways that supporters could contribute to the scholarship program at all financial levels, and emphasized  human interest stories about generational support of the historic game and the direct impact to families and communities when students were able to go to college.

By clarifying the messaging, The Wakeman Agency  effectively educated people about the impact of the game’s tradition, and reignited support for this annual signature event.


  • Increased attendance by 23% with more than 40,000 attendees at the historic game
  • Increased understanding of the value of the game
  • Additional exposure for sponsors
  • Conversations online about the game demonstrating renewed interest
Schedule a confidential consultation to learn how our strategic communications offerings can elevate your organization’s impact.