US Olympic Team Facebook page reaches 1 million fans on third day of "Join Team USA" initiative
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Today, just three days into the U.S. Olympic Committee's "Join Team USA" initiative, the US Olympic Team Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/USOlympicTeam received its 1 millionth "Like." The campaign, which officially kicked-off June 14 and runs through Sunday, July 31, capitalizes on the patriotic summer holidays to provide Americans with a multitude of opportunities to support and Join Team USA.
One of the program's primary objectives is to drive fan engagement through the US Olympic Team Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/USOlympicTeam, and as of 11:55 a.m. MST today, the USOC thanks all of its 1 million fans for supporting the efforts of U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls by joining Team USA on Facebook.
Among the many other ways the campaign invites the public to support and Join Team USA:
Attend one of the 350-plus Olympic Day celebrations taking place across the country June 17-26
Cheer for Team USA athletes competing at National Governing Body (NGB) summer sporting events
Meet and celebrate Team USA athletes at various professional sporting events
Interact with athletes and other fans on Facebook (live chats, athlete postings, a new donation application, and links to NGB and sponsor pages)
Vote for recipients of six Team USA Grants of $12,000 each
Participate in sponsor events and donation drives, including special events in Chicago, Ill.; Daytona, Fla.; and St. Louis, Mo.
"There are so many ways for fans to get involved and Join Team USA this summer, especially with the enhanced Facebook efforts of the U.S. Olympic Team and U.S. Paralympics," said 2008 Olympic gold medalist and 2012 wrestling hopeful Henry Cejudo. "Fans will be able to chat with Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls, and, most importantly, support Team USA by donating on Facebook. Since the moment I won my gold medal in Beijing, I have viewed the victory as one for the United States and am so grateful to the thousands of Team USA supporters who helped me live my dream and represent this country to the best of my ability."
Since approximately 80 percent of the USOC's operating budget goes directly to athlete support programs, including direct athlete support, NGB support programs, Operation Gold, elite athlete health insurance (EAHI) and tuition grants, donating to Team USA is once again at the heart of the USOC's summer campaign, which began in 2009.
"Like many non-profit organizations, fundraising is a critical element of our success," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "The awareness and funds raised during this campaign directly impact Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls in the United States. Join Team USA allows fans to get involved and become a part of the team in many valuable ways."
Driving the Team USA donation message is a public service announcement (PSA) edited by NBC as well as print and digital advertisements featuring the following Olympians and Paralympian: Natalie Coughlin (swimming), Allyson Felix (track & field), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics) Lisa Leslie (basketball), Tim Morehouse (fencing) and Marlon Shirley (Paralympic track & field). The PSA will be played on more than 400 stations across the U.S. Fans will also have the ability to donate through a new donation application on the US Olympic Team's Facebook page and on TeamUSA.org.
In addition to supporting Team USA monetarily, there are numerous ways in which fans can take part in the Join Team USA campaign.
Join a sporting event
Olympic Day: To commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, Olympic Day is observed annually on June 23 around the world. In the United States, communities in every state will celebrate Olympic Day through educational programming and other activities June 17-26. A record-breaking 350 events have registered with the USOC to host a celebration, making this the largest Olympic Day effort ever in the U.S. Also, to further spread Olympism through Olympic Day celebrations, hosts will post photos and videos from their events by using the hashtag #OlympicDay on Twitter and further coverage will be available on the US Olympic Team Facebook page.
NGB Summer Events: NGBs will also be heavily involved in the campaign. Join Team USA will be featured at events such as: USA Badminton and USA Bowling's USBC Junior Gold Championships and USBC Youth Open; USA Boxing Nationals; USA Diving summer championships; USA Judo Junior Olympics and President's Cup; USA Table Tennis US Open; U.S. Taekwondo Junior Olympics; USA Triathlon elite series event; USA Volleyball Junior Olympic events; and USA Wrestling Junior National Championships. The initiative will also be supported in NGB publications and on their websites.
Professional Sporting Events: Several U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls will appear at professional sporting events this summer. To commemorate Flag Day and the launch of Team USA, Sugarland, Texas, natives Diana, Mark and Steven Lopez (Taekwondo) were at Minute Maid Park , home of the Houston Astros, on June 14. The Lopezes threw out the ceremonial first pitch and met with fans on the concourse. Collectively, the Lopez family has won six Olympic medals for the U.S., and all are hopefuls for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Team USA athletes will appear at various Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), U.S. Golf Association (USGA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) events throughout the country where the Join Team USA PSA will be played and ceremonial first pitches, sport demonstrations, clinics, and autographs signings will be featured.
Join the conversation
Enhanced Facebook Interactions: For the first time, Team USA fans will be able to communicate with Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls in live chats on the US Olympic Team Facebook page and through regular posts from U.S. athletes. The first two live chats took place May 26 and June 2 with 2010 Olympic gold medalist Steve Holcomb (bobsled) and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Tony Azevedo (water polo), respectively. The next two Olympians scheduled to chat both won gold at the 2008 Olympic Games: Bryan Clay (track & field) tonight, June 16, and Henry Cejudo (wrestling) on June 30. Also on Facebook, fans will be able to "like" NGBs and sponsors from the US Olympic Team page and support the Olympic dreams of U.S. athletes by making a donation to the USOC.
The USOC has launched a strategic campaign to grow its Facebook presence. Through the social media platform, the USOC aims to inspire Team USA fans with the amazing stories of U.S. athletes, spread the Olympic values, generate excitement for America's team, and provide a forum for engaged, meaningful two-way communication. After reaching the 1 million fan milestone today, the USOC is more excited than ever to engage with as many Team USA fans as possible in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.
Team USA Grants: From Sept. 2-18, fans will be able to vote for their favorite video submission to win a $12,000 Team USA Grant on the US Olympic Team Facebook page. The grants will fund six programs that improve sustained competitive excellence, instill the Olympic values, or grow participation in sport. Only eligible participating organizations affiliated with the USOC, including its U.S. Paralympics division, may apply. Applications will be accepted online from June 20-July 27 and more information can be found at www.teamusa.org/teamusagrants.
Join our No. 1 supporters
Team USA's corporate sponsor family plays a central role in the daily life of Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls. Through the Join Team USA initiative, USOC partners have created unique opportunities for fan engagement and driving additional support for U.S. athletes.
Anheuser-Busch is activating at several highly celebrated summer events across the country, giving Team USA a footprint at each of the events, and providing an opportunity for athlete meet-and-greets, giveaways, exposure to Olympic sports and an Olympic photo booth, which will provide fans with a unique Facebook profile photo. The events include:
The Taste of Chicago, June 24-26, in Chicago
The Coke Zero 400, July 2, in Daytona; where three members of the 2010 Olympic gold medal-winning Night Train bobsled team - Steve Holcomb, Steve Mesler and Curt Tomasevicz, as well as new team member Steve Langton - will be present with the Night Train sled to sign autographs.
Fair St. Louis, July 2-4, in St. Louis
Hilton Worldwide will promote the initiative through its guest-loyalty program with a Hilton HHonors Points Donation Program. For every 10,000 points donated by HHonors members, a donation of $25 will directly support Team USA.
United Airlines will support the initiative by promoting their Charity Miles program in Hemispheres Magazine and during in-flight programming. During the month of July, United Mileage Plus members will be encouraged to donate their miles to Team USA.
Visa, longtime Olympic sponsor, has created even more incentive to make a donation to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams and will match monies raised by the USOC during the Join Team USA campaign for the third year in a row. Americans can now double their impact between now and July 31. For every dollar sent by the challenge deadline of July 31, 2011, Olympic sponsor Visa will designate another $1 from their sponsorship for a total of $2, up to a maximum of $750,000. What citizens send can be doubled, as long as the USOC receives it by July 31, 2011.
"The U.S. Olympic Committee's annual summer campaigns are vital to providing U.S. athletes with the support we need to reach our full potential at the Olympic and Paralympic Games," said Paralympic gold and silver medalist and 2012 Paralympic cycling hopeful Allison Jones. "With so many different ways to get involved in the Olympic Movement this summer, I encourage all fans to engage with Olympians and Paralympians by liking U.S. Paralympics and the US Olympic Team on Facebook, supporting Team USA sponsors or watching us in action at an event."
For more information, please contact the USOC Communications Division at (719) 866-4529 or visit www.teamusa.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.