Entrant Company: Monkey Knife Fight


Most Creative Engagement During the Sports Pause

Driving Influence Through Partnerships and Charitable Giving


The COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity to grow Monkey Knife Fight’s unique business and ignite our irreverent brand.

How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

This represents “Excellence in Engagement” because Monkey Knife Fight partnered with professional sports teams while simultaneously giving support to the local communities in need in the specific cities they were now invested in through their sports teams. Monkey Knife Fight is engaging with new audiences as a presence in their communities.

This sets a new benchmark in fan engagement because it opens an entirely new opportunity to build brand awareness with a new audience in areas where sports betting is not currently legalized, such as California, Texas, Florida and Wisconsin. Monkey Knife Fight is developing relationships with the local community by showing them they care about their wellbeing by supporting their local charities and sports teams.

This will inspire and move the industry forward because there will be a charitable aspect to all future brand and team partnerships when it comes to Monkey Knife Fight’s endeavors. Monkey Knife Fight will continue to branch out, build relationships and get involved with local charitable organizations.


Objective: When sports shut down last spring, most brands in the industry went into a “wait and see” mode. Monkey Knife Fight (MKF) did the opposite. We zigged, while everyone else zagged, investing capital and energy into every aspect of our business. Internally, we focused on product enhancements. Externally, we prioritized brand building.


Strategy & Execution: Since sports fans couldn’t cheer on their teams in person during the height of the pandemic in 2020, Monkey Knife Fight used their logo and mascot (named “Furious George”) to fill their seats.

We took advantage of empty stands in ballparks across the U.S. We placed tarp seat coverings with branded charitable messages such as “Hit It Here for COVID Relief” at Marlins Park and Target Field as well as taking advantage of the “cut-outs” craze by placing our Furious George’s face at Miller Park and Oracle Park. Each time a ball hit a tarp or a Furious George, MKF donated $10,000 to the respective team’s charitable foundation.

Our strategy was to drive influence in populous states where sports betting currently isn't legal like California, Texas, Florida and Wisconsin. By creating partnerships with professional teams in those states, MKF could build brand awareness and strong bonds with local fans. Simultaneously, MKF could support the partnership community through charitable giving.

MKF signed 13 partnerships with NFL, MLB, NHL, and MLS teams along with a PGA golfer. Aside from the deal terms, we wanted to give our support to communities in need in cities we were invested in for the long term.



Monkey Knife Fight donated more than $500,000 to teams in 2020, with all going directly to pandemic relief efforts in the teams' home cities for immediate needs such as food and shelter. Furious George activations also garnered significant media attention during home broadcasts, and in local news and sports industry trade publications like Sports Business Journal.

The engagement is forward-looking in this instance as well. Creating brand awareness and trust in the communities will aid Monkey Knife Fight as the company expands in these areas and eventually as sports betting is legalized in the states where partnerships are in place.


Monkey Knife Fight



Monkey Knife Fight
VP, Head of Partnership Development & Strategy
Monkey Knife Fight
VP, Marketing
Monkey Knife Fight
Creative Director
Cooper, Levy & Partners



Over two days, sports betting + media will converge to discuss the North American fan. Learn the insights and strategies needed to develop partnerships, create and monetize betting content, and drive critical revenue and engagement.

May 12-13, 2021 (Virtual)


Hashtag Sports® is the leading platform for media and marketing professionals and the next generation of creative talent across the converging sports and entertainment industries.

From unparalleled experiences like our annual conference and the Hashtag Sports Awards presented with Budweiser to inspirational digital content and mission-driven initiatives, Hashtag Sports is the benchmark for fan engagement and the go-to resource for the development of a new sports and entertainment ecosystem powered by digital media, content, culture, purpose, and technology.