For the sixth consecutive year, FOX Sports Arizona used its July 4 telecast of an Arizona Diamondbacks game to honor the brave men and women in the United States Military. The network’s “This One’s For You, Presented by Sanderson Ford & Pepsi” was a television and web effort that brought Arizona National Guard families to Chase Field for the game, showcased soldiers getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan and used social media so viewers could express their thanks for the sacrifices the troops make each and every day.
July 4 was also the D-backs “Military Appreciation Day” at Chase Field, so the two organizations partnered to showcase everything that was happening in-stadium as well. FOX Sports Arizona produced a special one-hour pre-game show to televise the pre-game ceremonies and also invited 70 Arizona National Guard troops and family members to the game. They sat in a special section together and were interviewed throughout the telecast. In addition, Major General Hugo Salazar joined announcers Greg Schulte and Mark Grace in the booth, the Arizona National Guard’s Chief of Staff, Col Jeffrey Tipton appeared on the post-game show, while families of deployed soldiers were also interviewed on the pre-game show.
For both the telecast and a special “This One’s For You” page on FOXSportsArizona.com, the network and the Arizona National Guard teamed up to produce soldier “shout outs” directed to their loved ones back home in Arizona. These aired in game and were posted on the website as well.
FOX Sports Arizona worked with the McKendry family of Phoenix to video a Skype conversation so they could be reunited with their husband and father – Thomas William McKendry – who is currently serving in Afghanistan. Their conversation was then shown during the telecast and displayed on FOXSportsArizona.com as well.
Social media was also relied on for further promotion and interaction of this effort. Fans were asked to submit messages of support for the military via Twitter, Facebook and FOXSportsArizona.com and all the responses were shown throughout the coverage via a ticker.
The FOX Sports Arizona Girls were also in attendance to mix and mingle with the Arizona National Guard families and were part of “The Weigh In” social media segment during the pre-game show to ask some families what their favorite July 4 memory was.