Any Given Sunday: Alumna creates memorable experiences for Minnesota Vikings’ fans
When the Philadelphia Eagles hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy at the Super Bowl this past Sunday, a little bit of Sheridan was part of the action, too. Tanya Dreesen (Advertising ’92) is the Vice President, Partner Activation and Special Projects for the Minnesota Vikings, the NFL team that hosted the league’s biggest game at U.S. Bank Stadium. As the head of a team that works with the Vikings’ corporate partners to fulfill the execution of their sponsorship deals, she was part of the team that helped secure the bid for the Super Bowl, bringing the football championship the furthest north it’s ever been.
“Our bid was a tough one to sell because this is a cold weather market, and typically Super Bowls are not hosted in cold weather markets,” she says. “But we have the most spectacular stadium. Our roof is 60% clear so our stadium gives an indoor and outdoor experience and protects you from the elements. We made cold cool.”"
Selling the NFL on Minneapolis is just one part of her job. Beyond the excitement of projects like Super Bowl, Dreesen says her day-to-day work is also rewarding because she works with the Vikings’ partners to create memorable fan experiences. So, for instance, when the stadium was under construction, she and her team helped U.S. Bank, the lead stadium naming rights partner, create interactive touch-screens to celebrate all 377 high school football programs across the state. Fans can use the wall to research the school in their area, the team roster, win-loss records and past championships won. She says that kind community recognition helps enrich the already special experience of watching the Vikings.
“We love that there are 7 out of 10 people who would raise their hands and say they are Vikings fans in the state of Minnesota,” she says. “What we want to do is blow them away when they come to our stadium on game day.”
Dreesen landed her job after spending the early part of her career in the advertising departments of the Toronto Sun and Toronto Star, working on sponsorship deals the paper had with local sports teams. It was a role she continued with the daily newspaper in Minneapolis when she moved there. She says she enjoys working in sports because fans are so passionate and engaged, so when the Vikings’ job arose, she jumped at the chance to work there. She says she still uses some of the lessons from her days at Sheridan, especially the psychology courses that help her read the audience when she’s pitching new ideas to support partner activations. That’s an important skill in her job, because she can’t control what happens on the field, but she still wants her partners to be part of the excitement and energy of game day.
“We don’t sell wins and losses. We sell hope, memories and the experience of the fan engagement … Every time you walk into that stadium, regardless of what happened the Sunday before, you have renewed hope. (The game) ends up being a space where everyone rallies around the same thing and that’s the Vikings winning. It’s the most special thing to be standing down on the field Sunday at a noon kick off, anthem playing, and seeing everybody united in that building and all with the same intention, and that is for a Vikings’ win.”