Representatives from Boise State University’s Basque Studies Program came to us with a tall order:
Design everything needed for a one-time soccer friendly between two famous, culturally significant teams during one of the largest gatherings of Basque people in the world.
And we do mean everything.
Watch the Blue Turn Green
The friendly required a shocking move: The removal of Boise State’s iconic blue turf, which — according to the rules of La Liga, Bilbao’s governing body — had to be replaced with grass. This was not a small proposition! To accomplish this feat, the field goal posts had to be removed, 87,000 square feet of plastic event decking had to be laid, and then the turf had to be put down. The match’s date change didn’t make the project any easier: Organizers ordered a temporary irrigation system so the grass wouldn’t wilt and die in Boise’s extreme late-July heat.
Ripping up the blue was such a big deal that it made national news. The field returned to its normal smurf hue after the game, but you can see the effort that went into the transition here
Carew Co offered comprehensive marketing services — pro bono — for what would become known as the Basque Soccer Friendly, a match between Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente of Mexican and Athletic Club de Bilbao of Spain’s Basque region. The friendly was played at Boise State’s Bronco Stadium, which covered its famous blue field with traditional green sod especially for the game, during Jaialdi 2015. Jaialdi (“big festival” in Basque) is held every five years in Boise and regularly attracts more than 30,000 revelers through sports, dancing, food, wine, and cultural events.
Pulling off the match — an incredible feat performed in multiple languages and with coordination from three countries and two soccer leagues — was tough enough. But the event was specifically timed to take advantage of the influx of enthusiastic crowds and to raise awareness for the Basque Studies Program, which organized the friendly as its most ambitious fundraiser ever.
But thanks to Athletic Bilbao’s success — they qualified for their league’s playoffs — the friendly had to moved a week up from its scheduled date. That meant that we had to pivot, too, and work quickly to make everything flow seamlessly for fans.
We worked for more than a year to make this project come to life. Carew Co’s services included:
We drew on the colors of both the Basque and Mexican flags — green, red, and white — for the match’s visual identity. We updated the font associated with Basque writing, a serif-heavy block print, to reflect the spirit of the game and inject a bit of fun into a very traditional typeface. The visual identity was used on everything from T-shirts to tickets and became instantly recognizable among Jaialdi revelers and soccer fans. We also designed all of the signage that was used in the stadium during the event.
We created every single piece of official merchandise for the event, from traditional soccer scarves to hats and t-shirts and more. We knew there would be a huge demand for Basque Soccer Friendly goods — but where could we sell all of them? We decided to open our own shop. Carew Co handled everything from the store’s signage and floor plan and merchandise setup to the design of the goods themselves. The store was a massive success — during the week of Jaialdi, downtown Boise was a sea of Basque Soccer Friendly merch.
The Kuadrilla (which refers to a group of close friends in Basque) heightened excitement for the upcoming match by offering exclusive access to fans. Kuadrilla members received pre-sale ticket access, a limited edition T-shirt, a commemorative poster, and invitations to exclusive monthly events.
Special-Edition Basque Friendly Drinks
Two local powerhouses — Payette Brewing and Cinder Winery — created one-off beverages to commemorate the friendly. We worked with both businesses (we serve as the designers for their products) to develop the cans and labels for these special drinks. Payette’s Basque Soccer Lager, an American pale lager, and Basque Soccer Tempranillo, a wine made using Spain’s most famous grape, both drew on the iconography of the friendly.
Despite the date change, thousands of fans showed up at Bronco Stadium to watch the match. (Athletic Bilbao won 2-0, by the way.) But the real winner was the Basque Studies Program, which raised money and awareness for the program, allowing more students to experience the awesome Basque culture for themselves.