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April 2024


Media Relations


In April 2024, Franco tackled media relations surrounding one of the most visual and iconic moments in sports: when a first-round NFL Draft pick enters the stage to receive his new team’s jersey from the Commissioner. But while millions of people watch this happen year after year, few know about a local St. Clair Shores company (and Franco client) that makes this moment possible.

For the past 13 years, STAHLS’ heat-press technology has put the company “on the clock” for this major event. After a player is selected, the STAHLS’ team has less than two minutes to personalize the jersey in the Nike Jersey Room backstage. The intense preparation process starts weeks before the Draft, including creating nameplates for every potential first-round draftee in all 32 NFL team fonts and colors and packing eight jerseys per team on hand in the event of last-minute trades.

With the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit, the Franco team updated our earned media playbook to introduce STAHLS’ to a wider audience before the big event.


Demonstrations > Talking Heads

How do you show something that happens exclusively behind the scenes?

Rather than tell people about STAHLS’ technology, we decided to let them see it for themselves with onsite heat press demonstrations and interviews.

Media pitching included a high-level explanation of the process and an invitation to STAHLS’ headquarters. By leading with demonstrations, media jumped at the chance to capture the heat press in action so their audiences could get a peek behind the curtain on draft day.

Personal Touch

Franco worked closely with local media and the STAHLS’ team to ensure nameplates could be created in advance for each journalist and outlet. When media arrived onsite, STAHLS’ demonstrated their heat press by personalizing an NFL Draft shirt for the journalists.

Journalists were also invited to work the heat press themselves, gaining a deeper understanding of how the process would work on draft day.


In the weeks leading up to the Draft, Franco coordinated 13 local media interviews, including eight in-person media demonstrations at STAHLS’ headquarters in St. Clair Shores – and one in the Pittsburgh area. These media efforts yielded more than 500 media mentions to increase awareness for STAHLS’ unique role in the NFL Draft.

The more than 450 print/online articles came from far and wide (thanks to the Associated Press story), including two front-page stories: The Detroit News and Macomb Daily’s Sunday edition.

While online coverage was shared throughout the country, the more than 30 television/radio interviews were primarily in metro Detroit as a direct result of onsite media demonstrations – like Brad Galli’s story for WXYZ, which had more than 380,000 views on TikTok.

If Franco scored a touchdown with STAHLS’ earned media coverage, the extra point came from the relationships built through demonstration and personalization. Involving media in the heat press process made each opportunity more fun and engaging for Franco, STAHLS’ and the media we worked with on this awesome project.