SBD/Issue 245/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

St. Louis Univ. Hospital, Rams Partners In Marketing, Not Medicine

St. Louis Univ. (SLU) Hospital is the "official" hospital of the Rams despite not providing medical care for the team, and this set-up "could represent the next generation of health care sports marketing," according to Mary Jo Feldstein of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Washington Univ. (WU) School of Medicine has provided medical services for the Rams since the team moved from L.A. in '95. SLU Hospital Marketing & Communications Dir Laura Signaigo defended the sponsorship deal, which includes billboards around St. Louis, saying, "We're not out there trying to say we take care of the Rams. This is a marketing agreement." Rams team physician Dr. Matt Matava said that he and his colleagues from WU have "not paid the Rams for the privilege of caring for its players, as some team physicians do." SLU Hospital and the Rams "wouldn't provide the cost of the sponsorship," but Matava "estimated it to be in six figures." Feldstein notes as hospitals and physicians "push to gain prominence and respect in their communities, partnering with sports teams can garner both." With "limited measures of quality available to the public, patients are known to rely on marketing campaigns in choosing hospitals and physicians." However, Case Western Reserve Univ. marketing professor Andrew Gallan said that if consumers "find out the SLU Hospital deal is purely marketing and not clinical, its efforts could backfire" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/11).

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