American consumers love sports and therefore so do businesses, which have tapped into the craze with sponsorships galore. Every time a new stadium is built, some company pays bucks, big or small, to plaster its name on the side of it.

One company that uses sports as a marketing tool in a huge way is New York Life Insurance Co. The company started with Southeastern Conference football on CBS in 2009 and has since made deals with major league baseball teams, the NHL, NFL, college basketball and even Little League baseball.

The insurance company employs a variety of methods—ads, logos projected on the field of play, sponsorships—to associate its name with college and pro sports teams and leagues. 

To get all that, the company spends $5 million to $7 million a year, Chris Sorgie, corporate vice president of New York Life, told AdvisorOne. One might wonder if the sponsorships are worth it and what, exactly, N.Y. Life or other companies get for their money. Sorgie sees a few benefits.

“Our brand tracking results indicate that this strategy has helped increase New York Life’s brand awareness and positively enhanced our perception,” he says.

And not just name recognition, the sponsorships have produced tangible results, as well.

“The sponsorships have helped generate sales leads for our agents and we receive tremendous bonus coverage when our brand is shown on sports highlight shows,” Sorgie says.

Here’s a look New York Life’s sports sponsorships.

(Also see AdvisorOne’s Top 10 Best & Worst Sports Business Deals.)

Rangers and Devils mixing it up. (Photo:AP)1. NHL

The insurer has deals with four teams, the “hometown” Rangers and Islanders among them. Rounding out the roster are the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins. Besides broadcast and arena advertising, N.Y. Life sponsors all game overtime periods. Fans see a Selfless Gift ad before the extra period starts and then see play uninterrupted.

The Red Sox celebrating a victory last season. (Photo: AP)2. Major League Baseball

Eight teams had TV agreements with the insurer in 2011: Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. Every time a runner slides safely into a base, the company’s logo appears on the screen and the announcer mentions the insurer.

Two teams, New York’s Yankees and Mets had radio deals with N.Y. Life.

Canadian Little Leaguers celebrating last year. (Photo: AP)3. Little League

New York Life sponsors more than 250 leagues across the United States and has a presence, including a booth, at the Little League World Series. In addition, in September the company collected gently used baseball and softball gloves to be given to those in need.

Connecticut's Jeremy Lamb pushes past Harvard's Wesley Saunders in December. (Photo: AP)4. UConn Basketball

UConn basketball has been at the top of the NCAA and New York Life was smart enough to recognize a marketing opportunity. The men’s team won the championship last season and the women, who had enjoyed a record 90-game winning streak, made it to the Final Four. OK, so they couldn’t snag a third straight title, but who wants to quibble? As part of its deal with the school, the insurer’s blue logo appears on the teams’ home court.

LSU safety Eric Reid (1) celebrates an interception. (Photo: AP)5. SEC Football

A lot of observers say Southeastern Conference football is the best in the nation. The players, they, say, are bigger, faster and stronger than those of other conferences. We won’t debate that. But we can say the SEC was the first sports sponsorship New York Life signed on to. The company’s Southeastern Conference college football sponsorships include 30-second television spots during each game, and the New York Life logo superimposed on the field alongside the first-down marker four times each game, including the SEC championship game.

Dallas Cowboys Stadium (AP Photo)6. NFL

The company runs commercials during games and has deals with the New York Jets, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts. In addition to the ads, the insurer partnered with STATS Inc. to create the New York Life Protection Index to measure which team is best at keeping its quarterback safe.




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