SBJ/Feb. 14-20, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marriott signs deal with USA Hockey

Marriott Hotels has continued its efforts with Olympic sponsorship, signing a four-year partnership with USA Hockey.

The deal, which sources valued in the mid-six figures, is Marriott’s second with a national governing body. It signed a three-year agreement last year with USA Swimming.

The USA Hockey and USA Swimming agreements give the international hotel chain limited Olympic ties at a time when its competitor, Hilton Hotels, is the official hotel partner of the U.S. Olympic Committee. In the past, competitors in a category have signed deals with NGBs and promoted them during the Olympics in a way that undermined the value of the USOC’s official partner.

The agreement with USA Hockey will see Marriott hold webinars with some of the NGB’s 585,000 members. It also will have representatives who serve as direct liaisons with USA Hockey’s 34 regional and 50 state representatives who oversee hockey tournaments and events. Those liaisons will assist USA Hockey volunteers with securing better hotel rates at Marriott hotels during their events.

“This can be a good help to [the volunteers] as they balance their volunteer workload with trying to save money,” said Lee Meyer, USA Hockey’s senior director of marketing. “For Marriott, it’s a perfect in with people who organize tournaments or schedule team travel.”

The partnership with Marriott gives USA Hockey its first official hotel partner since 2006. It previously partnered with Hilton before the Torino Games.

The partnership is the second one USA Hockey has signed in the last two months. It added RBC as its official financial services and banking partner in December. The two deals combine to increase USA Hockey’s total sponsorship revenue by 10 percent in 2011.

IMG represented Marriott in the negotiations.

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