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Becher's Bytes: We're Not Just #SharksForLife But #TealTogether

by Jonathan Becher /

I marvel at the passion fans have for sports. Being a supporter of a team gives someone a psychological connection to that team and an authentic sense of belonging. In fact, research shows the more someone identifies with a team, the more self-esteem and positive emotions they have.

Last post season, as part of our "Sharks for Life" campaign, we offered fans a free Sharks tattoo. The response was overwhelming. More than 500 fans showed up to take advantage of the offer; some showing up at 6 PM the day before. Tattoos are a literal interpretation of Sharks for Life.

After three years of a successful campaign, it's time to change our rallying cry. As an organization, we're trying to be more inclusive of all the things we do in the Bay Area: Sharks, Barracuda, concerts, family events, ice practice facilities, a non-profit foundation, and much more. Internally, we've been calling ourselves Team Teal to emphasize our collective collaboration despite our diverse backgrounds and responsibilities.

Sharks for Life has been extremely successful with our long-time, core fans but it doesn't always resonate with people who don't already have deep loyalty to the Sharks. We want to grow pride in our community by engaging with new audiences who may not be very familiar with hockey and ice sports. We are working on creating deeper connections with casual fans and those who might not stay in the Bay Area for a long period of time.

And so - a few weeks ago - we launched a more-inclusive rallying cry: Teal Together. Teal Together represents coming together in work, play, or doing good. Everyone is welcome to be part of the Teal Together experience: from attending a hockey game, to skating or curling at our ice facilities, to jointly supporting well-being in the community.

Tweet from @SanJoseSharks: It doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter your background. It doesn't matter if you've been a fan since the Cow Palace days or just started watching last April. We are all #TealTogether.

Teal Together applies to anyone and everyone. It doesn't matter whether you have just moved to the Bay Area or you have been here since the Apple campus was an apple orchard. It doesn't matter whether you are a 25-year Sharks365 member or 10-year old that's never been to a hockey game. It doesn't matter whether you skate in a beer league or don't really understand the rules of hockey. It doesn't matter whether you fight fires, write code, fix cars, or run a business. Regardless of age, race, gender, sexuality, beliefs, or means, we are all #TealTogether.

As part of Teal Together, we will be rolling out new imagery, new messages, and new voices. Some of it might seem unusual or not to your taste. That's to be expected - what appeals to one person may not appeal to someone else. Rather than trying to embrace everyone with a uniform message, we are using more diverse messaging. Internally, I've joked that if someone likes every creative this year, we're clearly not pushing the envelope hard enough.

To our Sharks fans who have supported us for many years and have epitomized Sharks for Life: You are the core of the Teal Together movement. Please help us welcome new fans to the best sport on Earth. Together, let's support them as they learn the rituals that come with being a Sharks fan. The Bay Area is vibrant home to a diverse set of people - together, we can make SAP Center even more representative and inclusive of our home. 

We are all Teal Together.

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