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Philadelphia Union giving back and engaging community and fans in unexpected ways

SB Nation logo SB Nation 5/5/2020 Joe Lister
a close up of a sign © Photo by Morgan Tencza

For the past few years, the Philadelphia Union has been looking into different ways to improve and expand the ways they engage as a club with their fans off the field and give back to the local community.

Under normal conditions that has meant a number of promotional pushes and fan engagement campaigns and community initiatives, but since the postponement of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the team has doubled down on those efforts.

“We’re a soccer team, we’re in Philadelphia, but there’s this whole new lens, right, how do you serve and how do you represent your community,” Doug Vosik, the Union’s Chief Marketing Officer, told Brotherly Game in a recent interview. “And that leads to tons of ideas and tons of different platforms.”

One of those recent ideas included team employees personally delivering t-shirts purchased to support the foundation’s Fight For Philly initiative supporting frontline workers and families in need in the area.

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Bob Caton was one of the fans surprised by the delivery on Friday, especially since he lives 199 miles from Subaru Park in Mechanicsburg.

“I assumed it was UPS or FedEx or another service dropping something off, but when I looked out the window there was a young man with a Union jacket on walking back to his car,” he said. “I had seen social media posts about the Fight for Philly shirts being hand-delivered, but I never thought they’d do it for someone who lives so far away.”

Matt Purdue was another Union fan who got a surprise visit from a staff member. He too thought it was a normal delivery worker.

“Then I notice the shiny, blue Union bag on my screen door handle,” he said. “The guy said he had my package from the Union and thanked me for my support of Fight for Philly. I was almost speechless, like some 9-year-old kid who meets a player from his favorite team.”

For Caton, the delivery was telling of what kind of club the Union are.

“I think the home deliveries are a tremendous gesture from the Union and more proof just how much they care about the community,” he said.

To date, the team has delivered 3,000 face shields to Main Line Health, which includes Lankenau, Paoli, Riddle and Bryn Mawr hospitals, 1,000 lunches to health care workers and this week will be partnering with the Red Cross for a blood drive and delivering 2,500 KN95 masks to Jefferson Health hospitals.

The team continues to engage fans through social media, responding to requests for random Photoshops or other content with a project every Wednesday and then showing up at their house (wearing masks and practicing safe distancing, of course) to make unexpected swag deliveries.

“I’m proud that the club and the ownership group, every week we are doing something to service Chester, service Philadelphia or service our fans,” Vosik said.

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