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SBJ/February 4-10, 2013/Franchises
Shock signs casino as jersey sponsor, with assist from Richie
Published February 4, 2013, Page 4
Osage had been a partner of the franchise since 2010, but team President Steve Swetoha wanted to make certain Osage executives understood what a jersey sponsorship could bring. What he created was no ordinary pitch.
With Osage Casino CEO Neil Cornelius looking on, Swetoha started the show by having the arena lit up with the Osage Casino logo flashing on the arena’s LED boards and scoreboard. The casino logo was prominently placed on the hardwood below, and mock-ups of both the Shock’s home and away jerseys sporting the Osage name were on full display.
The full-court press worked. Seven months and 10 meetings later, the Shock last week announced a jersey deal with Osage that makes the franchise the seventh WNBA team to secure such an agreement.
The WNBA has a leaguewide jersey deal with Boost Mobile, as well.
“We went all out and had Laurel come in from the league,” Swetoha said. “It was the first opportunity to put in front of the partners the magnitude of the investment.”
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the value of the three-year deal is said to mirror other WNBA team jersey sponsorships, which begin at $1 million annually.
“The thing that struck me was their one-on-one approach,” Cornelius said of the meetings leading up to the deal. “They brought in the president of the WNBA for starters. Being a businessman, I see sales and attendance growing.”
Osage’s deal will put the casino mark on the front of the team’s jerseys and on the team’s home floor. It also provides for in-arena signage and team events at Osage casinos, of which there are seven located throughout the region.
“I always say that I am happy to participate in any way [teams] would like,” Richie said. “It can be about strategy or helping shape presentations and providing league perspective. To date, this is the most I have been involved with in terms of attending meetings.”