A Q&A with Curtis Hanlon, LS&Co. Sports Marketing
Curtis Hanlon has been a die-hard Bay Area sports fan for as long as he can remember. But your average enthusiast, he is not. He’s managed to combine his love of his hometown teams — and sports in general — into a pretty sweet gig. As sports marketing manager at Levi Strauss & Co., Curtis is responsible for managing our sponsorships with the San Francisco 49ers and the San Francisco Giants.
Since the announcement in May 2013, Curtis has lived and breathed Levi’s Stadium. On the heels of Sunday’s 49ers win, we were lucky enough to snag a few minutes with Curtis to get a little behind-the-scenes scoop on how it all came together:
How did your role at LS&Co. change with the announcement of Levi’s Stadium?
Before the stadium, I split my time between marketing the Levi’s Commuter series and the Skateboarding collection and overseeing our Giants sponsorship. The stadium announcement gave us the opportunity to build out a dedicated sports marketing department, so I became part of that team, focusing on the 49ers (including the stadium) and the Giants. Today, I’m responsible for managing day-to-day activities related to both teams, which includes everything from entitlements to marketing activations to metrics and budgeting.
That includes Levi’s Stadium?
Definitely. I helped oversee and lead all of the major projects related to Levi’s Stadium. For the past year and a half as a team we have worked on the interior and exterior stadium branding, branding of the 501 Club, designing the Levi’s space within the retail space and the museum, and bringing fan engagement and activation to life in a way that only Levi’s can.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I’ve been a fan of the 49ers and Giants all my life. In my role here I get to utilize our sports partnerships with two of the greatest teams to connect with fans in an authentic and engaging way nationally. Marketing through sports stadiums and team sponsorships is fairly new to Levi’s, and I am fortunate enough to be able to help set the stage for Levi’s in this area for many great years to come with both organizations. It’s an exciting time to be at Levi’s and there isn’t a more exciting project to get to work on than Levi’s Stadium.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned through your work on the stadium?
As much as you plan, discuss, design and execute all of the little to large-scale aspects of the stadium, something is sure to go wrong along the way.
This truly was a positive and determined team effort to get the project done on time and built to the high standards we all expect here at Levi’s. This was the most challenging, demanding and rewarding project I have ever been fortunate enough to work on. It’s not just any stadium — it’s truly become Levi’s Stadium. That’s what we wanted our fans to feel when they enter the space.
What’s your favorite part of the stadium?
Being a fan myself, I love that they designed the stadium with the fan in mind. There isn’t a bad seat in the house — the view and the sightlines are unreal. At the same time, it’s a true reflection of where it sits, both in the heart of Silicon Valley and in San Francisco. It’s packed with technology that enhances how fans enjoy the game day experience, and it’s the most sustainable stadium in the U.S.
Can you give us a sneak peek of ways Levi’s will interact fans at the stadium this season?
Fans will quickly learn that good things happen when they Live in Levi’s and wear them to the stadium. We’ll be seeking out those fans and have some fun surprises in store for them. Another highlight will be the Levi’s Ninerfier. This nifty little trailer will be filled with iconic moments in 49ers history and will give fans an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to infuse the glory the 49ers into their very own Levi’s. We have also partnered with the 49ers social team to create the Forty Viners, a team that captures short Vine videos in and around the stadium that we feature during our in-game scoreboard feature. We have used this to leverage our scoreboard content outside of the stadium to gain more exposure for our 49ers product collection and our surprise and delights for fans that wear Levi’s to the stadium.
What’s your Levi’s story?
Levi’s are literally the only pants I’ve ever worn. I’ve always looked up to my older brothers for style pointers and to tell me what was “cool” to wear. Levi’s have always been the family choice for denim.
Which pro athlete would you invite to dinner?
Jerry Rice, no question. It would be amazing to sit down with one of the greatest legends to ever play the game.