The idea took shape earlier this month with Stephi Blank, the Yankees’ senior manager of digital and social media strategy, who sought a way to gather the area’s teams in a sweeping gesture of solidarity.
The result became public at about 10 a.m. Thursday, when every major pro baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer team in New York and New Jersey posted a one-minute video on social media, featuring the hashtag #WeAreNewYork.
“She wanted to do something on a grand scale, knowing the obvious, which is that New York and New Jersey were at the epicenter of the pandemic,” said Jason Zillo, the Yankees' vice president of communications.
“It was bringing all the teams together to kind of unite the fan bases under one umbrella.”
The video shows scenes of the COVID-19 pandemic’s toll, then recalls the region’s resiliency after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, including Mike Piazza’s game-winning home run for the Mets 10 days later.
Finally, there are scenes of celebratory moments both for the pros and their fans, closing with the words, “WE ARE” following by a rapid-fire look at every team’s logo.
Blank partnered with a production company in Los Angeles called Picrow, which has worked with the Yankees on commercials, to create a rough cut. Eventually a copy was sent to every team for input and soon they all signed off.
The captioning on the images reads, “We are New York. Nothing comes easy. When we face adversity, we come back stronger. It’s time for a new chapter.
“We compete. We cheer. We persevere. We are passionate. We are resilient. We are strong . . . We are all in this together. We are New York.”
Zillo said that with no games being played, it is important for teams to stay engaged with the community through channels such as social media.
“Our identity has been stripped, to a degree,” he said. “We need to kind of reimagine how we can be productive and positive without the day-to-day content a baseball season provides . . . Games or no games, this organization has a responsibility to the community.”