Fandom is inherited. In some families, it’s a birthright.
But just because you’re born a fan of a certain team doesn’t mean you’ll stick with it for life.
That’s why when a new baby is born, die-hard fans of an NFL team don’t take any chances. They want to establish the loyalty of their newest family member immediately.
“It’s almost like they take it as a personal mission to make sure that their kids are fans of their same teams,” says Colts Senior Director of Marketing Stephanie Pemberton. “It becomes a way to spend time with your family together, to celebrate together, and to really establish something that you can rally around. Whether it’s gathering around the TVs on Sunday or whether it’s going to the games on Sundays, it just becomes this unifying point for families.”
Football is family. And keeping with that theme, the NFL launched a Newborn Fan Club so fans can officially welcome their newest addition into their family and their team.
Kristi Shaffer’s first grandchild was born in July.
“Gunner Riggs, born on Tuesday, July 26th, six pounds, 13 ounces. He is a miracle child and he is the light of our life.”
A true blue Colts fan and member of the Blue Ladies, Shaffer wasted no time baptizing Gunner into Colts Nation.
“By day two, I officially registered my grandson so that we would know from before he arrived, as soon as we found out he was going to arrive, he was going to be a Colts fan, whether he liked it or not. He has no choice,” she laughs.
But it’s no joke. The Colts are near and dear to Shaffer and her family.
“We are a big Colts Nation, breathe, bleed blue all year round no matter what and no matter where we go family,” she says. “It’s important to me that he is a fan of a phenomenal team, we have great character, we have great owners, we have great staff all the way around, it’s just a great organization to be a part of.”
Pemberton says that’s by design.
“I think the Colts have really made sure that we are a member of this community and that we’re woven into the fabric of it so that for generations and generations when you come to Indy, it’s Colts or when you come to Indiana, it’s Colts.”
She says it’s not rare for Colts fans to officially welcome their newest family members into the club early on.
“We see it all the time, we see people posting their pictures using the hash tag ColtsBaby. As soon as they’re born, in their first photo shoot, they’ve got their Colts gear on because it really is something that brings the family together and that I think parents feel like they can pass that on from generation to generation.”
And a big part of that is game day tradition.
“We see it even with season tickets,” she says. “You see generations of families passing on their season tickets because it becomes a tradition in their family and something that everyone kind of rallies around and it brings them all together on Sundays and at training camp and throughout the year.”
For Shaffer and many others, it’s family time, it’s making memories, it’s passing on tradition.
Then, there’s the ultimate dream.
“Hopefully one day in about 18 years, he might get a phone call that says, ‘We want you to come out and try out.’ And Shaffer would look awfully good on the back of that jersey.”
Football is family – especially in the Shaffer family.
Welcome to Colts Nation, Gunner.
The Newborn Fan Club is free to join. Members receive a personalized digital birth certificate with the baby’s name and team, a personalized image of the birth announcement shared on the video screen, entry into a sweepstakes to win baby apparel, discounts at NFLshop.com, discounts on Pampers products, and content from the NFL and Pampers tailored to new parents.
To register your new family member in the NFL Newborn Fan Club, visit: www.nfl.com/NewbornFanClub.