SBJ/June 24-30, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Gymnastics renewal gives P&G title sponsorship

Procter & Gamble is increasing its commitment to USA Gymnastics through a renewal that makes it the title sponsor of the sport’s marquee event, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

The deal, which sources valued in the mid- to high six figures annually, runs through 2016 and makes the company USA Gymnastics’ biggest sponsor.

P&G (represented here by Pantene) has been a USA Gymnastics sponsor since 2008.
Photo by: ICON SMI
In addition to becoming the title sponsor of the P&G Gymnastics Championships, the company receives more than 20 commercial spots during coverage of the event on NBC and NBC Sports Network and rights to use the USA Gymnastics logo in marketing materials ahead of the Rio Games. It will retain the title sponsorship of the Secret U.S. Classic, which it uses to promote its deodorant and antiperspirant brand, and it has the ability to make one of its other brands the presenting sponsor of the P&G Championships.

P&G, which is an International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor, has sponsored USA Gymnastics since 2008 and made the organization one of its primary, Olympic marketing vehicles ahead of the 2012 London Games.

“This is a great way for us to pivot off our Olympic partnership and amplify what we do in that space in a very authentic way,” said Matt Hollenkamp, P&G’s North America sports marketing manager. “It’s a way to help bridge in between Olympic Games and be more relevant. With our female beauty brands, it helps reach a key target audience.”

The deal is critical for USA Gymnastics. Visa had been the title sponsor of the organization’s championships since 2004, but the company this year decided to cut back on its spending with national governing bodies. It wanted to reduce what it paid USA Gymnastics from $3.2 million over four years to $375,000, and the organization rejected the offer.

USA Gymnastics President and CEO Steve Penny said that the deal with P&G will allow the organization to not only replace Visa but also hit its annual goal of $3 million in sponsorship revenue.

“The P&G deal closes a big gap in what we wanted to accomplish,” Penny said. “This gives them the largest entitlement we have in the sport and gives them a real strong foothold with us for the next four years.”

The deal is the fourth major sponsorship USA Gymnastics has closed in the last year. It also signed a new deal with Under Armour and finalized renewals with AT&T and Hilton.

Penny said that the organization continues to have conversations with Visa about returning as a sponsor and also is looking at finding a financial services partner.

“We’d like to have one more major partner in our stable at least, but we’re in a really good place right now,” Penny said.

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