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Bear Down!

New Community Partnership Engaging Fans Year Round
Big changes are underway during this, the 13th Annual Chicago Bears Summer Training Camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. Capitalizing on the outstanding opportunity to expose Kankakee County to the larger Chicagoland region and beyond through Training Camp is now a top community priority.
Specifically, a strengthened collaboration between the Economic Alliance, Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce has translated to more strategic promotion in terms of capturing fan attention and leveraging that awareness off the playing field.
For one, public entities like the KCCVB and public-private entities like the Economic Alliance have invested considerable sums to help fund capital improvements – including new weight and locker rooms as well as field improvements – at the private ONU campus.
“These capital funds” explains Economic Alliance President/CEO Mike Van Mill, “are being matched with innovative marketing campaigns designed to engage the 100,000 visitors to Camp each summer, all of whom are now being recognized as prospective commercial, industrial or residential investors.”
The enhanced marketing effort around Bears Camp this year is being led organizationally, financially and programmatically by our award-winning CVB. This CVB took a bold and historic step last year in making a substantial capital investment that helped to retain the Chicago Bears Summer Training Camp in Kankakee County. An additional marketing contract entered into by the CVB and the Bears organization is enabling Kankakee County to reach fans in new ways that are both powerful and measureable.
This year, visitors to Camp are experiencing an enhanced Concierge Tent with more giveaways, increased information about local restaurant and attraction specials, and greater capture of information on fan preferences to encourage future visits to Kankakee County and make future Camps even better.
Starting this spring, Bears fans began to learn about Kankakee County’s special events and unique attractions through sophisticated print, digital and social media campaigns. The hub of this effort is a newly created micro-website www.kankakeecountyovertime.com geared specifically to Bears fans. At the site, visitors can find valuable discounts for popular attractions and restaurants.
A youth football-themed “Overtime” event on August 6 at Perry Farm Park will attract regional teams to celebrate the sport and provide another promotional avenue for local businesses and events. Mini Abe Lincoln of TV commercial fame will even pay a visit from the state tourism office in Springfield to draw attention to Bears Camp and several other outstanding Kankakee County attractions.