SBJ/March 4-10, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Pfister goes bigger with Devils

Wayne Pfisterer wasn’t sure he wanted to do another deal with the New Jersey Devils. During the 2011-12 NHL season, his company, New Jersey-based renewable energy operation Pfister Energy had held a standard, one-year sponsorship with the club, with a dasherboard presence and marketing opportunities at Prudential Center.

Pfisterer, the company’s president and an avid Devils fan, didn’t see much return on the investment.

“What we learned is that we’re not Budweiser or Coca-Cola,” Pfisterer said. “We had a lot of presence at the Devils’ games, but not direct opportunities in terms of sales or meetings. If we were going to be with the team longer, I decided we needed to do more.”

He took to creating a program that would encourage fans at the games to become involved in renewable energy and brought the idea to Devils management. The end result was a new, two-year partnership between the Devils and Pfister that industry sources estimate is for mid-six figures total.

The program, called Become an Energy Hero, debuts Tuesday at the Devils’ game against Tampa Bay and runs for the duration of New Jersey’s regular season. The offering encourages hockey fans in New Jersey to promote clean energy in the workplace. Participants who develop and execute a sustainability project, based on requirements set by Pfister, are eligible to receive up to one year of reimbursement of their household electrical bills. Examples of projects are adding solar or wind power, or upgrading lighting.

Become an Energy Hero will be promoted through in-game announcements, in-arena advertisements, on branded T-shirts shot into the crowd and through the Devils’ Mission Control social media initiative.

Pfisterer, whose company focuses on commercial and industrial facilities and has 50 employees in New Jersey, said he may expand the program into other avenues of marketing if it takes off. The Devils are Pfister’s only sports partner.

“I will view this as a success on some level if we are introduced to a couple of different companies,” Pfisterer said. “It will be a great success if we get a couple of jobs from it, but if people become aware of who we are and what we do, that would make us happy, too.”

As for the Devils, the club has emerged strongly from the NHL lockout, which led to the cancellation of 17 home games for each club. New Jersey has sold out nine of its 10 games played so far this season at the 17,625-seat Prudential Center. Going back to last year’s playoffs, when New Jersey advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, the team has sold out 21 of its last 22 games.

“Our success … has led to growth across the board, not just with our fans, but with corporations as well,” said Devils Arena Entertainment President Rich Krezwick. “Like with Pfister, it has given us new opportunities to engage with companies about unique partnership initiatives.”

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