Beyond the Bricks
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Beyond the Bricks

Cielo Azul to Take Field at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in 2018

OKC Dodgers’ “Es Divertido Ser Un Fan®” identity and uniforms unveiled at special community event Tuesday

Under a fittingly expansive Oklahoma blue sky and the warmth of the sun on the first day of spring, the Oklahoma City Dodgers unveiled their new alternate persona Tuesday evening amid a festival atmosphere at Supermercados Morelos.

The OKC Dodgers will take the field as Cielo Azul de Oklahoma City for eight games at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark — known as ¡Celebración Cielo Azul! — May 31-June 3 against Omaha and July 27–30 against El Paso.

The Spanish name Cielo Azul translates to “blue sky.”

OKC Dodgers President/General Manager Michael Byrnes’ announcement received enthusiastic cheers and applause from the crowd of families on hand enjoying free food, music, games, inflatables and entertainment under and around a large tent and stage stationed outside of the southside Oklahoma City grocery store.

OKC Dodgers President/General Manager Michael Byrnes, left, introduces the team’s Cielo Azul identity and uniform worn by Mid-America Christian University pitcher Juan Puente

The OKC Dodgers are one of 33 Minor League Baseball teams invited to participate in MiLB’s “Es Divertido Ser Un Fan” (“It’s Fun to Be a Fan®”) campaign this season. MiLB® selected nine Pacific Coast League teams to participate and each will don an alternate identity for select games during the 2018 season.

“Thank you for being here today,” Byrnes said to the crowd. “We are truly blessed and excited to have such a wonderful day — such a wonderful opportunity to introduce ourselves, to connect with you and to find a way to have a more authentic connection into your community.”

The “Es Divertido Ser Un Fan” campaign began in 2017 and aims to attract, engage and celebrate Hispanic and Latino fans in each participating team’s city.

MiLB targeted Oklahoma City because Oklahoma’s capital has one of the fastest growing Hispanic and Latino populations in the country. About 17 percent of city’s population identifies as Hispanic.

Participating “Es Divertido Ser Un Fan” teams created culturally relevant team identities, all of which were unveiled Tuesday, and will offer inclusive gameday experiences through music, concessions and promotions.

The 33 teams MiLB included in the campaign this year are competing for the Copa de la Diversión™ (Fun Cup™), awarded to the club that most successfully builds and expands connections within its local Hispanic and Latino communities throughout the season.

“We’ve worked since October to identify what (team brand) is the best and most representative of our community to take on,” Byrnes said to the crowd.

The OKC Dodgers front office staff worked to develop concepts for a new identity and brand for the “Es Divertido Ser Un Fan” campaign.

Through a series of focus groups with members of the local Hispanic and Latino community, one clear brand frontrunner emerged — Cielo Azul. The focus group participants identified the name and concept as the most inclusive and friendly for all ages, Byrnes said.

Tango Public Relations President Jorge Hernandez worked closely with the OKC Dodgers on the Cielo Azul brand development.

“I think they’re taking the right steps to really make sure they’re being inclusive and treating the community with the respect it deserves,” Hernandez told The Journal Record.

“They’re really taking their time by doing their research, partnering with the right people, and coming into the community.”

Families enjoy food, games and entertainment at the Cielo Azul introduction event at Supermercados Morelos

The Cielo Azul brand was introduced to the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in recent weeks and received positive reactions before the official announcement Tuesday.

Chamber President David Castillo told The Journal Record he liked the new identity.

“I think at the least people will pay attention and notice that they’re doing things in Spanish and concentrating on the community,” he said.

The Cielo Azul concept began with the aim of creating a brand that celebrated the richness and depth of Hispanic and Latino culture in the United States, while also linking the identity to the Dodgers and to the team’s home state of Oklahoma. The “blue sky” name intends to reflect that diversity.

OKC Dodgers mascots Brooklyn, left, and Brix, right, entertain the crowd at Supermercados Morelos

Former Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, a hero within the organization and beyond, would look into the sky as part of his windup, which also served as inspiration for the Cielo Azul idea.

The brand’s primary blue color reflects the vast blue sky in the state of Oklahoma, while having “azul” in the name connects the brand to famous Dodger blue. The additional colors of red, gray and cream in the branding reflect the Oklahoma landscape, while the scissor-tailed flycatcher accents serve as an additional tribute to the state.

Bubbles were one of the many activities attendees enjoyed at Tuesday’s Cielo Azul introduction event with members of the Blue Crüe entertainment team

“Sports teams symbolize their respective community’s uniqueness, often adopting nicknames and logos depicting these special traits,” MiLB vice president of marketing strategy and research Kurt Hunzeker said in a release. “MiLB and the participating teams embraced this creative approach when developing the ‘Copa de la Diversión’ brand identities, and the final designs reflect the unique characteristics of each team’s fan base while staying true to MiLB’s one-of-a-kind brand of fan-centric fun.”

Cielo Azul’s first on-field appearance will be May 31 against Omaha at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

“This is just the beginning of that experience,” Byrnes said Tuesday. “We have been really spending a lot of time and intent behind how the overall game presentation and game experience can be more authentic.

“We have an executive chef who has been putting thought into what the food and beverage experience is going to be like at these games. We’ve also been taking a lot of feedback on the music and how we can bring that overall game presentation to life during these games. We think you’re going to be very pleased with the final outcome.”

After the completion of ¡Celebración Cielo Azul! in 2018, the team’s hats and jerseys will be auctioned off with proceeds benefitting a local Hispanic/Latino non-profit organization.

After five months of work, planning and research during the offseason, the Cielo Azul brand became public Tuesday.

Select merchandise is available now in the OKC Dodgers Team Store, located at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and online at shopokcdodgers.com with additional merchandise options to come.

“We learned an invaluable amount during this process,” Byrnes said. “Thanks to the input of key members of the local Hispanic and Latino community, we were able to develop an identity that was inclusive of several cultures and provided an emotional connection for Hispanic and Latino fans.

“We’re excited about the brand identity we have landed on.”

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Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson

Communications Manager for the Oklahoma City Dodgers