SBD/Issue 181/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Foxwoods Casino Exec Explains WNBA Liberty Jersey Sponsorship

Liberty The Fourth WNBA
Team To Ink Jersey Sponsor

Foxwoods Resort Casino Senior VP/Consumer Marketing Rob Victoria yesterday said the company's new jersey sponsorship deal with the WNBA N.Y. Liberty is designed largely as an attempt to boost market share and awareness in Connecticut. Women's basketball enjoys a strong following in the state, and Foxwoods is locked in a vigorous competitive battle against neighboring casino rival Mohegan Sun, owners of the WNBA Connecticut Sun. "This is a chance to compete in the same arena as Mohegan Sun and beat them," Victoria said. "We need to penetrate Connecticut better, and this is an important step in that direction. This was a perfect marriage of what we need and what MSG had to offer, and is certainly one of many moves we will make to go after market share." The deal is the league's fourth uniform branding deal following the Phoenix Mercury, L.A. Sparks and Seattle Storm, and also represents the first resort casino branding on a pro sports jersey. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal is a three-year pact with options. Industry sources said MSG came down on price at least twice during a nine-month negotiation period. Beyond the jersey rights, the package also includes exterior LED signage at Madison Square Garden and a community outreach component (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Victoria noted that the "proximity of the two casinos" helped him consider the deal "more seriously." He said, "It'll almost be like a Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. We're all for it." Victoria said that "discussions with MSG initially only involved the arena" and began in '09. The addition of the jersey deal "started around late March and was a turning point in negotiations" (AP, 6/2). Sources indicated that the deal could pay MSG $1M annually (N.Y. POST, 6/3). Foxwoods does not offer gambling on sporting events (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 6/2).

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