City releases communications case study from Ali funeral week in LouisvilleKY

Muhammad Ali

Lonnie Ali holding celebration today to thank city and civic leaders

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 27, 2016) – The June 3, 2016 death of Muhammad Ali, who was perhaps the most well-known and beloved citizen on Earth, was a significant moment globally. But it was especially poignant for his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where The Greatest of All Time would be mourned over a period of seven days in front of a global print, television and social media audience numbering in the billions.

From an initial call in the afternoon of June 3 from the Ali family, alerting Mayor Greg Fischer’s Office that Ali was gravely ill and could die within hours, to his burial one week later, the Mayor’s Communications team was involved in nearly every aspect of the celebration of Ali’s life and his burial.

Working with the Ali family and Boxcar PR, which was representing the family, city leaders had, over the course of nearly a decade, prepared for the death, funeral procession and associated events from the aspects of public safety and dignitary security, in a secret plan called “The Book.”

Muhammad Ali

During the week between Ali’s death and funeral, the city collaborated with Boxcar, with the Muhammad Ali Center and the Louisville Convention on logistics, including a nearly 20-mile funeral procession and ceremony that drew hundreds of dignitaries and celebrities from around the world.

This communications case study, prepared by the Mayor’s Communications team, outlines how the week unfolded from a city perspective — what went right, what could have been improved. The goal is to enhance our own planning for future large events and to share lessons for other communicators when a global spotlight is focused on their city.

Lonnie Ali, widow of Muhammad Ali, is hosting a thank you celebration 6 p.m. today at the Ali Center to thank city and civic leaders who helped plan and oversee the Ali memorial week and funeral.

Read the full case study at: https://louisvilleky.gov/sites/default/files/mayors_office/casestudy4.pdf.

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