SBD/Issue 136/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

White Sox, Blackhawks Form Far-Reaching Marketing Sponsorship

White Sox, Blackhawks Form
One-Year Marketing Partnership
The White Sox and Blackhawks today will announce a far-reaching marketing partnership in which each club will promote themselves in the other club’s building and within the other club’s media inventory, a rarely heard-of practice for clubs not controlled by the same ownership group. The pact, signed for one year but eyed for a longer term, will begin today at the White Sox’ home opener with a video to be shown at the stadium that will feature Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane and C Jonathan Toews in White Sox hockey jerseys. Other activations in the partnership include a Shoot The Puck promotion on the top of the White Sox dugout during each game at U.S. Cellular Field, a Blackhawks night at the ballpark set for August 23 and Blackhawks theming in White Sox game presentations, such as the use of the hockey goal horn for home runs. Similar activities, such as a White Sox night at United Center, are being developed for the '08-09 NHL season, and some ticket sales activity will occur at each other’s games as well. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal will result in a substantial net payment from the Blackhawks to the White Sox, as the hockey team will be doing more activation at U.S. Cellular Field than the White Sox at the United Center, and the baseball team’s media and sponsorship inventory is more valuable. The clubs share interest in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, and have the same flagship radio station of WSCR-AM. White Sox VP & CMO Brooks Boyer: “Our fan bases really match up well. There’s a ton of similarities between them. Instead of competing against each other, we’re taking a chance and seeing if we can drive each other’s business forward.”

REACHING OUT: The move represents another major marketing initiative undertaken by the Blackhawks since the September death of Owner Bill Wirtz, who famously resisted many forms of outreach to fans. The club in recent months also has announced plans to televise every game next season, create a fan festival and repair strained relationships with several club legends. “We have to be bold. We have to be innovative. We’re working with a blank canvas,” said Blackhawks Senior VP/Business Operations Jay Blunk. “This whole quest is about making the Blackhawks relevant again. We built up such great momentum since the beginning of the new year. The question before us now is how we keep that momentum. Staying visible and being in front of White Sox fans is part of that.” The Blackhawks also intend to pursue some promotional opportunities with the Cubs, particularly as Blunk and Blackhawks President John McDonough each were longtime Cubs employees before moving to the hockey team late last year. But Blunk said it will not be "on the same scale as with the Sox.” Blunk: “The in-game presentation opportunities at U.S. Celluar lend themselves to far more activity.”

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