Client: Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce

The Opportunity
The East Metro Business community needed to show strong support for state funding to help construct a state of the art professional hockey and exhibition arena in Saint Paul. The project faced severe opposition in the legislature on political, ideological and economic grounds.

Seizing the opportunity
Davis Communications helped devise a strategy of positioning the arena as the home of a diversity of events throughout the year to serve a wide variety of audiences. We led a team of business community volunteers and staff in creating a media relations and grassroots organizing campaign designed to leave no doubt in legislators’ minds that businesses from the Saint Paul area backed the proposal. The Chamber took the lead in developing a coalition of organized labor, youth sports activists, and supporters of community center projects throughout the state. Ted developed a grassroots communications system to keep coalition members informed and provide them with a way to contact key legislators at pivotal moments in the debate. We also launched an aggressive media relations strategy designed to show legislators a deep and broad well of support for the arena proposal within the greater Saint Paul community. More than 2,000 employees of Chamber member companies contacted elected officials on the issue during the session and delivered a unified message of support.

The Results
After a very contentious debate, the Minnesota legislature authorized a $65 million loan to allow construction to go forward. The campaign effectively established the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and its officers as the primary news source on business issues in Minnesota’s capital city. During the debate, the Chamber and its position registered nearly 10 million impressions in the regional media as the lead business organization on the issue.