Some say sports is the true American religion. And anyone who’s seen the intense praying of fans at a close Red Sox game would agree. So for businesses who want to tap into the psyche of potential customers there is a variety of ways to take advantage, including sponsorships, ads, stadium naming rights and more.
In January, AdvisorOne looked at how New York Life has used sports to enhance its business. Today, we look at Prudential. Fans would have a hard time not associating a “piece of the rock” with their favorite sports, from Major League Baseball to the NFL to golf, soccer and tennis, among others.
Prudential says it sees a variety of benefits from its association with athletics. “From a broadcast perspective, audiences typically do not DVR sports programs,” said Anna Papadopoulos, vice president of integrated marketing services for Prudential Advertising, in an interview with AdvisorOne. “They want to watch them live, which decreases the likelihood that our advertising will be skipped. In addition, sports allow for more in-game integration.”
That integration offers more opportunity to engage TV viewers. “For example,” she says, “for our local spots within the PGA tournament, CBS created ‘Bring Your Challenges’ vignettes using Peter Kostis, the CBS on-course golf instructor and commentator.” In the vignettes, Kostis demonstrates challenging golf shots.
Sports give Prudential the chance to connect with those in the key demographic that is devoted to the programming. “Sports also have a higher composition of our target audience—age 35 to 64, with household income over $100,000—and tend to drive higher brand awareness, favorability and recall of sponsors,” Papadopoulos says. “And we tend to associate with sports that don’t have a slew of sponsors, therefore, fans tend to remember Prudential.”
Prudential doesn’t stop at ads and stadium signage to further its brand. It also provides tickets and special access to athletes for young people.
And its most prominent foray into sports might be its 20-year naming rights deal for the Prudential Center, the arena that the New Jersey Devils call home in Newark, N.J. With the Devils routinely making the NHL playoffs, the company gets extra airtime on national broadcasts.
Here, then, are seven of Prudential’s big sponsorships in the sporting world:
Prudential’s first foray into a sports tie-in was its sponsorship of “NBA at the Half” during telecasts in the 1980s on NBC. Since then, the company has followed the bouncing ball to sponsor Rutgers, Seton Hall and NCAA basketball. In addition, the financial services giant adds its name to New York Knicks radio broadcasts.
It’s no surprise that Prudential sponsors Rutgers and Seton Hall, since both are in the company’s home state of New Jersey. In fact, the support of the schools is among the longest running corporate sponsorships that Prudential is involved in. The Seton Hall deal is for basketball. At Rutgers, Prudential is involved in a range of sports. The deals include campus and in-venue signage placements, print program ads, TV and radio broadcast elements as well as game day mentions.
For NCAA basketball as whole, the financial services firm had a presence last season on regular-season basketball broadcasts with ESPN, ABC and CBS, and placed signage at courtside for the first time. The signage deal began in January and gave Prudential a courtside presence at 18 schools and during seven conference tournaments leading into the NCAA tournament.
Prudential likes to sponsor the local New York teams, and the Mets and Yankees both benefit from the company’s sponsorship of radio broadcasts. Its commitment extends to the minor-league Newark Bears. And then there’s its association with the mother ship, Major League Baseball.
During TV broadcasts of 10 teams—the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland A’s, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays—Prudential’s signage behind home plate appears for a half inning every game. Prudential also advertises on mlb.com and has a co-branded presence with MLB on iPad applications and mobile devices.