SBJ/April 11-17, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Hospital system signs deal for Mystics' jerseys

Inova Health System’s jersey deal with the Washington Mystics elevates its cause-related marketing campaigns to a new level by advertising the hospital’s name across the players’ chests.

The Mystics and their health-care partner jointly announced the partnership last week as part of a change in the team’s colors.
Greg Bibb, the Mystics’ chief operating officer, would not discuss financial terms other than to say it is the largest sponsorship in team’s 14-year history.

Washington is the fifth WNBA team to sign a jersey deal. Two years ago, Phoenix and Los Angeles signed deals with LifeLock and Farmers Insurance, respectively; both agreements were reportedly valued at $1 million annually. Others with deals are the New York Liberty (Foxwoods Casino) and Seattle Storm (Bing).

Inova first became a Mystics partner in May 2010 after signing a deal to become presenting sponsor of the team’s School Day preseason game at Verizon Center and for the club’s 20 summer camps and clinics. Six months later, the Mystics and Inova began talks on a more comprehensive agreement tied to jersey exposure.

Inova, whose headquarters are in Falls Church, Va., is on a mission to reduce childhood obesity and raise awareness of all chronic diseases affecting women and young children, said Mark Stauder, the hospital’s president and chief operating officer.

“This is a combined mission to make a difference,” Stauder said.

The deal adds more educational components to this year’s School Day game May 26 and includes a pregame health seminar for 80 students, tickets for Inova’s use and the right for the hospital to bring four of its partners to set up displays on the arena concourse, Bibb said.
Thousands of students are expected to attend this year’s game.

In addition, Inova and the Mystics are co-hosting a regional childhood obesity summit April 29 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

This is not Inova’s first sports-related deal. Last fall, the hospital teamed up with former Washington Redskin Darrell Green to promote a program providing health tips for adults ages 50 and older.

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