This is not a disclaimer announcing that Beyoncé is selling naming rights, but she may have been onto something... If you like something, act quick, as you never know who or what is up for grabs.
This past week launched a historic shift in the “what we will allow to be sponsored” world as the NHL announced that their competitive divisions will be sponsored this season, another strategy to buoy revenue losses from a Pandemic affected season. It's a shock that such low hanging fruit hasn't been thought of or explored in further detail before, and we applaud the NHL for being first-to-market with the idea.
The Alignments Are as Follows:
· Scotia NHL North Division
· Honda NHL West Division
· MassMutual NHL East Division
· Discover NHL Central Division
As touched upon in a previous ABC’s article, teams and leagues are doing everything they can to save revenue and provide partner exposure with attendance being either limited or prohibited.
This got us thinking about some of the most unique entitlements, alignments and naming rights deals we’ve seen over the years, and just how far or farfetched some rights holders will go to bring in revenue:
In June of 2020, mayonnaise brand Duke’s Mayo agreed to become the title sponsor of a regular season college football game and a postseason bowl game in North Carolina, now known as the Duke's Mayo Classic and Duke's Mayo Bowl.
We’ve seen all-types of naming rights across bowl games (shoutout to the now defunct Bitcoin Bowl) , but this one has such a great ring to it. Although the bowl game is not a New Years Six contest, the Duke’s Mayo Bowl ascended to bowl season folklore this year for the viral videos and subsequent following engagement, after winning team Wisconsin broke the trophy celebrating.
Duke’s was ready to capitalize on the national attention, turning up activity on their social media channels and even creating a t-shirt with the makeshift trophy, with proceeds going to a local food bank.
When one thinks of the traditions of football, mayonnaise may not come to mind, but we commend Duke’s for putting themselves out there in the first place, and then capitalizing on the unanticipated attention in a fun way. If you don't think condiments have staying power in the world of football, don’t forget that the Pittsburgh Steelers play at Heinz Field!
Below the Belt
The San Francisco 49ers almost pulled off a storybook 2019 NFL season, being crowned as NFC Champions, ultimately losing in the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs. As teams succeed on the field, it is usually followed by brands enamored at the chance to align with a winning team. The 49ers franchise has been known to be on the forefront of new ideas and innovation, including being the first to offer an all-inclusive food and beverage experience as a Season Ticket Member benefit.
It’s no surprise that the 49ers were open to bringing on an emerging category in the men’s grooming space, as the organization signed a partnership with MANSCAPED who became the Official Below the Waste Grooming Partner.
These partnerships seem to be a no-brainer for MANSCAPED as they can reach audiences that skew over-index to their main clientele. As with many edgy marketing categories, it usually takes one domino to fall before many others are comfortable to quickly follow suit.
Love is in the Air
In 2018, dating-app Tinder “jumped into bed” with English Premier League team Manchester City. To launch the partnership, Tinder and City sent a blimp into the skies of Manchester to consummate the relationship.
City Fans were also able to submit questions through the Tinder App for an Ask Me Anything segment with three of the team’s stars, Benjamin Mendi, Fabian Delph and Sergio Aguero. This partnership was the first foray into sports for Tinder.
We love to see a brand that is focused on setting up long-term partnerships between individuals take stab at its own marketing partnership with one of the world’s most well know sports teams.
Welcome to the (Mend a Hose) Jungle
In 2013, British Rugby League team, Castleford Tigers, renamed their stadium the Mend a Hose Jungle.
You mean you’ve never heard of the Mend a Hose Jungle before?!? The original grounds were founded in 1927 and have been host to the Castleford rugby team since 1928. The stadium holds about 12,000 people and has a record capacity of 25,449 set in 1935. The stadium has held multiple names throughout its existence, one of which was the Jungle, having come and gone over the history of the club to align with the Tigers name.
Mend-A-Hose is a UK based hydraulics company and was already a Tigers shirt sponsor. Knowing the sentimental value the Jungle had to fans, the club was adamant about finding a partner who was open to incorporating it back into the name.
Mark Grattan, who was commercial director at the time stated, “As part of our search for a new stadium naming rights sponsor, we were looking for somebody who shared our desire to reinstate the name "The Jungle", a hugely popular name amongst our fans, and we are absolutely delighted that Mend-A-Hose wanted the same.”
Although you might not find any other stadiums with this type of name or many partners within the hydraulics industry, this marriage is a great testament to listening to what the fans want. As a local company, Mend-A-Hose understood the importance of the stadium name to its supporters. Rather than trying to strong arm the organization into a traditional name, the brand went along with it, which most likely built up good-will in the eyes of the local community.
Lights, Camera.... Futbol?
In 2003-2004, Spanish La Liga Club Atletico Madrid brought football to Hollywood, but not in the traditional way… The club signed a unique jersey sponsor deal with Columbia Pictures, who took full advantage of the branding opportunity, rotating out sixteen different logos to promote upcoming movies. Some favorites include Hitch, Hellboy, Spanglish and Bad Boys 2.
The “Hollywood Ending” to this funky partnership was the custom spider man jerseys the team wore leading up to the launch of the movie.