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The Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games sought to generate attendance for the 2018 Warrior Games sports competitions and opening ceremonies at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


GroundFloor Media and CenterTable approached the DoD Warrior Games with recommendations for PR, community and influencer relations and digital strategy. The teams built tactics to create awareness of the Warrior Games and raise the profile of adaptive sports and adaptive rehabilitation, as well as the programs for assisting wounded warriors.


The 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games generated:

  • 515.5 million total audience reach
  • 65.4 million total local audience reach
  • Connected more than 200 organizations
  • Overview

    The eighth annual DoD Warrior Games, a Paralympic-style sports competition for seriously wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans took place in Colorado Springs at the United States Air Force Academy. Created to bring together adaptive athletes from all branches of the military and their families, the Warrior Games is a week-long series of adaptive sporting events and the culmination of months of training.

    Approximately 300 athletes representing the U.S. Army, Navy/Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Air Force and Special Operations Command teams were joined in “Olympic City USA” by teams from the United Kingdom Armed Forces, Australia Defense Force and Canadian Armed Forces. Athletes competed in 11 sports over the course of the Warrior Games, including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing, powerlifting and time trial cycling. Combined with attending family members and attendees from the general public, the Warrior Games hosted more than 10,000 visitors throughout the course of the event.

    Planning and Execution

    In partnership with the City of Colorado Springs, GFM and CenterTable supported the coordination and promotion of the Warrior Games through Public Relations, Community and Influencer Outreach and Social Media.

    The games kicked off June 1 with a remarkable opening ceremony, which hosted more than 20,000 spectators and featured comedian Jon Stewart as master of ceremonies. The ceremony featured an introduction of the teams and athletes and the lighting of the official torch. A concert by Kelly Clarkson capped off the opening ceremony of this outstanding event for world-class heroes. GFM supported all logistics leading up to the ceremony including all media coverage to build excitement, anticipation and drive attendance to the Games, as well as educate audiences about the athletes and adaptive sports.

    The nine-day competition was remarkable with countless exciting performances and thrilling team sport finals for both sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. Throughout the competition, GFM supported all logistics of media and digital coverage including staffing the Joint Information Bureau (JIB), live social media coverage of all sporting events and continued community relations throughout the event.


    The success of the 2018 Warrior Games rests with the dedication and hard work of the athletes and their caregivers, who are the true heroes.

    The media coverage leading up to, during and after the competition included Warrior Game athletes being featured in interviews on ESPN, Sports Center live broadcasts during the wheelchair basketball competition and a variety of athlete vignettes featured on the Today Show, People and other national news outlets.

    The 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games generated:

    Media Relations

    • Total National Audience Reach – 5 million
    • Total Local Audience Reach – 4 million

    Community and Influencer Outreach

    • Conducted outreach to more than 200 organizations, including businesses, nonprofits, churches, schools, government agencies
    • Shared information about the Warrior Games and coordinated events with key national and local sponsors

    Social Media


    • 174 total posts delivered a reach of 1,993,406 people


    • 127 total posts delivered a reach of 202,012 people


    • 343 total posts delivered 1,412,235 impressions

    Social Advertising: 

    • Warrior Games advertising campaign drove over 3M impressions to a targeted local audience
    • Facebook portion of the campaign delivered 814 shares of advertisements and an additional 514 new page likes of the Warrior Games page