Case Study: How $21.49 in Facebook Ads launched Chicago’s “Hawks Nest” for Seattle Seahawks Fans

For the longest time, Chicago-based fans of the Seattle Seahawks had no “home” bar to go and watch the games with other local fans. In 2012, a little initiative and $21.49 in Facebook Ads found a home, built a community, created life-long friendships and created a very positive ROI for a local bar owner.

Background

In 1999, I came to Chicago from Bellingham, WA, to go to Northwestern University (Go Cats!). Like most Washington natives, I grew up a die-hard Seahawks fan, cheering the team and future hall of famers like Steve Largent, Kenny Easley, and Cortez Kennedy through those hard early years of the franchise. 

That didn’t change when I came to Chicago. What did change was that I quickly discovered I had nowhere to go to see the game with other Seahawks fans.

Challenge

Finally, I did find one local bar that would play a Seahawks’ game (because it was a big one). The problem was, the TV was embedded in the floor; that was a horrible experience, watching a game looking down the entire time.  I hit “fan rock bottom” I literally had people standing on Matt Hassleback while I was trying to watch the game.

After that, I’d go to the bars of the Seahawks’ competition, being that jerk in the opposing Seahawks’ jersey at the {Browns/Redskins/Giants} bar. In 2012, I decided to go to Soldier Field and see the Bears play the ‘Hawks with some friends and a couple of folks from Seattle. 

We were thrilled.

(I will always love my home town!)

The locals, maybe not so much.

(Just kidding. He was awesome.)

While at the game, I discovered there were actually a ton of Seahawks’ fans there who lived in Chicago! I knew the ‘Hawks traveled well, but never realized how many closet-fans there were in the city. This led us all to an idea.

Solution

We started a Facebook group for Seattle Seahawks’ fans in Chicago! To recruit and find other fans so we could have a real Seahawk’s community locally, we made business cards and spread the word at the game. Then I remembered my day job as a marketing agency owner :)

I invested in Facebook ads, targeting zip codes in areas around the city and Seattle Seahawks’ fans. Then, $21.49 later, we had over 300 fans of our Facebook page. The problem? They started messaging and asking us where the Seahawks’ bar was. The problem was, we didn’t have one yet!

And this is where that little bit of initiative entered. We went around asking local bars if they’d be a Seahawks’ home bar which went pretty much as you might expect for a while, until Newport’s Bar and Grill on Southport agreed. (It was once famously known as the “Laundry Bar” as at one point in time it was attached to a laundromat.)

Now, because of our Facebook following and the big demand we could show, the owner agreed:

  • To play the games on all but a couple of screens.
  • Give us game audio in the bar. 
  • Give us game audio in the bar even during Bears’ games! (This was a big sticking point in our ask as Seahawks’ games occasionally overlap Bears’ games.)
  • Bringing in Red Hook beer from Seattle
  • Epic halftime raffles (this is where my seahawks fanny pack came from)

Results

Today, Chicago-based Seahawks’ fans continue to enjoy watching games. Only now, we watch them at Brownstone Tavern, 3937 N Lincoln Ave. (The owner of Newport’s closed his one location and opened Brownstone, inviting us to make it our current club – which we gladly did!) 

Every game, fans can enjoy a taste of home as the bar serves Red Hook beer. It’s a great atmosphere where we can high-five each other during games, agonize over losses and celebrate over-time wins!

Hawks win in OT!

At Hawks Nest Chicago, this is what it looks and sounds like when the 'Hawks score 20 unanswered points to come back from down 20-3 to take the victory!! SEA—!

Posted by Hawks Nest Chicago on Sunday, September 29, 2013

It’s worked out well for the bar owner too. The bar gets a horde of fans during ‘Hawks games during the fall. This Sunday Seattle connection has even made it a home for Huskies fans on college football Saturdays.

(As a note, I get no compensation for this article or bringing Brownstone any business. The bar owner is the only one who’s seeing an amazing ROI on my $21.49 Facebook ads.) 

All of this has worked out so well because it happened organically. We began as fans who wanted to get together. We put together a little effort, invested a couple of bucks and now we’ve just recently surpassed 1,000 Facebook page likes. 

The best part for everyone is a welcoming community for Seattle fans, good times had and the great new friendships we’ve made coming together from all walks of life around our shared enthusiasm for the Seattle Seahawks! 

The other Benefits of Being a Fan & an Agency Owner

Leveraging your creative team to make some epic signs – shoutout to Andrew Mast!

* Important Note: This trolling of Colin Kaepernick occurred years before he took a knee and was solely meant to make fun of the super-bowl losing 49ers.