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Inside the Deal
Published March 18, 2002
Bank of America signs with the WUSA Washington Freedom
as an official supporter.
Brooke Hodges, senior vice president, community relations
manager, Bank of America; Hilary Jones, director of marketing and sponsorship
sales, Washington Freedom
Status as official supporter
Nonexclusivity in retail banking category
Player appearances for internal and external Bank of America events
One on-field board, in-camera view
One 30-second ad and billboard announcements during broadcasts of 12 Freedom games on Comcast SportsNet
Game tickets for client entertainment or employee event
Public-address and JumboTron board announcements
Besides the Bank of America deal, new team sponsors for 2002 include Cabot Creamery, Discovery Sports Center and Maryland SoccerPlex, and Marriott. Returning sponsors are Baltimore/Washington Hyundai Dealers (exclusive automobile), Comcast SportsNet, Comcast and Nike.
John Hendricks, an investor in the Freedom and the chairman of the WUSA board
of governors, is chairman and CEO of Discovery Communications Inc., the parent
company of Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and other cable network services.
According to the team, Hendricks is a Bank of America client.
The WUSA fared better than most start-up leagues in its first season, and teams should find a more receptive sponsor market with a year's success behind them. For the Freedom, this means more cash deals and fewer barter arrangements. Bank of America's successful Olympic-themed campaign puts it into the top tier of corporate sponsors, and the Freedom gains credibility from this deal.
The team misses an opportunity by not using Bank of America retail locations for distribution of team promo materials. New teams can't find their market just through traditional advertising and should leverage any sponsor tie-ins to cross-promote the team.
Alan Friedman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the founder of Team Marketing Report.