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We cover news in Philly, so it stands to reason that public relations firms will send us story ideas and pitches about their local clients. Sifting through the nonsense to find good story ideas is routinely part of the job (ours and theirs), but when a big event comes to town, all that goes out the window.

PR firms have spent months trying to figure out a way to capitalize on the the NFL Draft.

I have puppies. Can we make the puppies play football?

I have sick kids. Can we send draft prospects to hospitals to visit them?

I have butterflies. No, seriously. There’s a butterfly event related to the NFL Draft. And Jeffrey Lurie’s ex-wife (and Eagles minority owner) Christina Lurie is involved.

They’re all over this #NFLDraft phenomenon. It doesn’t matter what the pitch may be, if there is some way to attach the event or product or cause to the NFL Draft, they’ll do it. Here are some of what we’ve gotten in the inbox this week.

Dear Media: Watch fans do your job

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Many of the pitches this week have come from the NFL and the Eagles. This one is my personal favorite:

Thursday, April 27 – Season-Ticket-Member Breakfast with Roger Goodell: 8:00 A.M. ET

WHAT: 32 season-ticket-members – one per NFL club – and their guests will be attending a breakfast to kick off Draft celebrations. The fans and their guests will participate in a question-and-answer session with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

NOTE: Media will be able to observe and film the question-and-answer session. Questions are reserved for fans.

The bold was theirs. The NFL invited media to come to an event that’s 75 minutes long where fans get to ask the Commish questions and they can’t. This is peak #NFLDraft.

Philly Community Kickoff

Mayor Kenney at an NFL Draft event in February. Credit: Dan Levy/Bill Penn

On Tuesday, we were invited to kick off draft week with a community event at General George A. McCall Elementary and Middle School. The list of attendees:

  • GARRY COBB, Philadelphia Eagles Legend
  • DR. WILLIAM HITE, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia
  • ANNA ISAACSON, NFL Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility
  • RON JAWORSKI, Philadelphia NFL Draft Host Committee Co-Chair and former Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback
  • JIM KENNEY, Mayor of Philadelphia
  • MIKE QUICK, Philadelphia Eagles Legend
  • Students and teachers from General George A. McCall Elementary and Middle School

This was a smart event to hold. Also, Garry Cobb is suddenly a Philadelphia Eagles Legend.

Eat soup with Zach Ertz


Current and former Eagles players will be up and down the Parkway this weekend, all peddling some product or speaking on behalf of some local business paying them to glad-hand the NFL fans. This is our favorite Eagles player pitch: Zach Ertz is going to spoon people soup. Let’s assume they meant Clam and Corn Chowder with Bacon, though Philly fans could surely use a ladle or two of calm chowder.


Campbell’s® Chunky™ Soup, the Official Soup Sponsor of the NFL, will be on-site at the 2017 NFL Draft Experience with Philadelphia Eagles’ Tight End Zach Ertz. On Friday April 28, Ertz will be handing out samples and greeting fans at the Chunky Food Truck, located in The NFL Draft Experience. The Chunky Food Truck will be sampling Chili Mac, Spicy BBQ Chicken with Beans, Calm and Corn Chowder with Bacon, and SpaghettiO’s Thursday, Friday and Saturday beginning at noon.

Campbell’s Chunky has been an official NFL sponsor since 1997.

When: April 28, 2017, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m

Where: Campbell’s Chunky Food Truck, located in The NFL Experience across from the Info Tower (near Entrance Gate 2 at the corner of Park Towne Place and N. 22nd Street)

Butterflies? Wait…BUTTERFLIES?

YouTube video

Hi Dan,

The NFL is teaming with Verizon, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation the Philadelphia Eagles to create a pollinator protection habitat for Monarch butterflies that migrate through the Philadelphia area.

I would like to cordially invite you to come meet with Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Christina Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles, Jack Groh, NFL Environmental Program, and David Weissmann, Verizon Wireless, Wednesday, April 26th at Hunting Park 9am-12pm.

Butterflies. I knew we’d get a lot of #NFLDraft pitches. I did not see three hours with butterflies coming.

NFL Draft is for the dogs

A partnership between Uber and the ASPCA means you can get one of these doggos at your office Wednesday. Credit: Photos via Uber

Okay, this one we actually said yes to. Uber teamed up with the PSPCA again to deliver puppies to your office for a donation. Also you can adopt the puppies. And they’ll be wearing football jerseys and playing with squeaky footballs, because #NFLDraft.

The Pennsylvania SPCA and Uber will team up to host a very special Uber Puppies: Draft Edition, providing adorable stress relief in the form of puppies to professionals throughout the Philadelphia area on Wednesday, April 26.

Offices in Philadelphia will have the opportunity to draft these cute canines for 15 minutes of game time. The puppies will be donning football jerseys just in time for draft weekend in Philadelphia to kick off! Bonus—all dogs are adoptable, giving fans a chance to score their Most Valuable Pup.

Beginning at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Uber users in Philadelphia (including Center City, Old City, the Navy Yard, University City, and Northern Liberties) can open the Uber app, enter the promo code PUPPYDRAFT under the Payment menu, slide over to PUPPIES and request 15 minutes of game time for $30. Uber will in turn donate those proceeds directly to the Pennsylvania SPCA and their lifesaving mission.

For more on how to get the puppies, go here.

The official beer sponsor of the NFL Draft

Credit: Dan Levy/Billy Penn

Do you want to hang out with a local TV personality and drink local beer?

Market & Shops at Comcast Center—Kick off NFL Draft week with Quincy Harris of Fox 29’s The Q Show at the Market & Shops at Comcast Center’s ‘Draft’ Party on Tuesday, April 25th from 5-7pm. Guests will be invited to taste test local draft brews and cocktails from Penn Beer (the official beer sponsor of the NFL Draft) and sample classic game day foods while enjoying favorite tailgate games such a corn hole, ladder toss and more.

Ah, hell, that was last night. Alas, here are two parties on Thursday:

Party with the Eagles


There are a lot of parties this week. Let’s share some other non parties. Or lame parties.

Watch the NFL Draft just blocks away from the NFL Draft

Credit: Mark Dent/Billy Penn

Kimpton Hotel Palomar is taking part in the NFL Draft festivities by hosting viewing parties in its living room for both guests and locals. The hotel will project coverage of the draft on the living room wall and provide its famous truffle popcorn for snacking. Guests can also order drinks or bites from a special NFL Draft menu from Square 1682 without giving up their coveted seats. Menus will be pay as you go and parties will take place during the following times:

Thursday, 4.27 from 8pm-10pm / Friday, 4.28 from 7pm-9pm / Saturday, 4.29 from 12pm-3pm

First, the Eagles probably won’t pick until after this party is over on Thursday, so this NFL Draft party is not a great way to go if you care about the Birds. Second, truffle popcorn? That’s the big sell? Why even send this pitch out?

Speaking of which…

Welcome to Philly (kinda)

Credit: Dan Levy/Billy Penn

We got this pitch from a very high-level PR firm. Legit. They even made a hashtag. No, it wasn’t #NFLDraft.

When it comes to football, Philly fans have a bit of a…reputation. The fact that Philly is hosting the draft has been met with some hesitation. Fortunately, a group of fans have created a campaign to set visitors at ease.

The effort is called “Welcome to Philly (kinda).” It includes half-hearted apologies, lukewarm wishes and other semi-pleasant attempts to smooth things over. If you’d like to hear more about it, give us a shout. You know we’re used to yelling here in Philly… WelcomeKinda.com

Why? Seriously, why.

NFL Draft counter programming

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Using the draft to pitch things can get tiresome, so what about using the draft to pitch an event at the same time as the draft, that also involves the Eagles! It’s the Jedi mind trick of PR pitches.

Hello, and thanks for considering this event/topic.

Not everything happening Thursday night is related to the NFL Draft. This event happening Thursday night at CHOP in West Philly supporting pediatric cancer and leukemia research, with scholarships being awarded to students at local universities.


Eagles Fly for Leukemia Event Celebrating More Than 40 Years of Research, Scholarships, and Family Support

WHO:  Approximately 100 attendees supporting the Eagles Fly for Leukemia organization, along with special guests:

  • Stephan A. Grupp, M.D., Ph.D., a leading pediatric oncologist at CHOP
  • Timmy Kelly, “Philadelphia’s little good luck charm,” singing God Bless America
  • Social Workers from CHOP
  • Four Drexel Scholarship Recipients (including Kathleen Keenan)
  • One St Joseph’s Scholarship Recipient (Courtney Simmons)

BACKGROUND: For more than 40 years, Eagles Fly for Leukemia has supported pediatric cancer and leukemia research in the Delaware Valley, helping their world-renowned scientists in the quest for a cure. EFL has donated more than $10 million to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, St. Christopher’s Hospital, A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children and the Ronald McDonald Houses of Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey toward the ultimate goal of abolishing childhood cancers and enhancing the lives of children in our community.

NFL Draft counter programming, Vol. 2

Penn’s Landing Credit: M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

It seems the medical pitches are the most likely to use the draft to promote something that’s going on at the same time as the draft. Why not just wait a weekend and not have to compete with the draft at all? Or, if pitching an idea unrelated to the draft, why not just ignore the NFL entirely?

Alas…we wanted to share as much as we could of this release. As with the others, the bolding is theirs.

As the region shifts its attention this weekend to the NFL Draft on the Parkway, or Penn Relays in West Philly, on Penn’s Landing, on Saturday, April 29 at 1PM, four hundred (400) Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference attendees will demand “the proper stats” for those with Metastatic Breast Cancer in the U.S. be counted.

Can you imagine sports without the right stats? A sportscaster not being able to get his or her hands on how fast a potential NFL draft pick can run; how much he can lift? How far a track and field star can jump or how her speed in high school improved in college? 

Believe it or not, in the U.S. people with Metastatic Breast Cancer (the kind that never goes away) are not properly counted. For some reason, we have no idea how many have MBC in the U.S. right now. Why does this matter? For science and research. For funding that is allocated based on how significant of a problem a disease is in our country.

Why don’t we know?

We don’t know these stats because our population-based cancer registries currently only track a person’s first diagnosis and and Metastatic Breast Cancer is the link that often comes along after a first diagnosis. This is a major flaw.

We are hoping you can come to Penns Landing FOR A QUICK PHOTO OPP. to help draw attention to this national problem and the social media launch that can steer it in the right direction. More than 6,000 have already signed this petition and we are hoping for 10,000 to take it to the folks in Washington who can make a difference.

Fighting for better cancer research is a noble effort, but is anyone who gets this email reading that forced sports tie-in about stats and thinking more about your cause? Do you know how many of these we get? (You do now.)

When you’re not even in Philly but still want to brag

Washington’s Headquarters Credit: Wikimedia Commons

High-Profile Sports Weekend Sparks Economic Impact in Montgomery County

The county’s most enthusiastic cheerleader, the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB), cites a $1.47 million bump in local spending.

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – Between the Penn Relays and the NFL Draft, an estimated 300,000 sports fans will rush into the area for the weekend of April 27-30.

The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) whipped out a playbook of strategic marketing and sales efforts to get them to consider a stay in Montgomery County.

The VFTCB cited a value proposition to staying here, flanked by a dedicated staff, proximity to the city and convenient public transit access.

According to calculations from the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), a Washington D.C. resource for tourism organizations worldwide, the efforts are moving the local tourism ball forward.

Athletes and families attending the Penn Relays, are occupying six in-county hotels: two in Plymouth Meeting, two in King of Prussia, one in Willow Grove and one in Fort Washington.

Not this week, Valley Forge. Get your own draft.