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Volume 25 No. 239
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Ciao Telecom Sees Rapids Jersey Deal As First Step In Establishing U.S. Brand Identity

Dallas-based Ciao Telecom is "pouring several million dollars into a high-profile sponsorship deal" with the Rapids, according to Andy Vuong of the DENVER POST. Ciao in an "intriguing move" is using its jersey sponsorship deal "in place of traditional marketing to announce its entry into U.S. prepaid wireless and Internet-based pay-TV services." The company "plans to launch services" in metro Denver "before rolling out nationwide." Ciao Founder & COO Victor Santos: "We're launching in the next few weeks, and we're going to roll it out first with the Colorado Rapids fans." D.A. Davidson & Co. VP & Senior Research Analyst Donna Jaegers said of Ciao's strategy, "By advertising on a soccer team's jersey, I would think they're going after a younger demographic." Vuong noted Ciao is paying $2M annually for the deal, which runs through '18, but asked, "Are the Rapids taking a risk by placing the logo of an obscure company ... on the front and center of every player's jersey?" Impression Sports & Entertainment President Chris Foy, who connected the Rapids and Ciao, said there is "always concern" when partnering with a company that has limited presence in the market. Foy: "If this company wasn't so established in Brazil and Italy, I think we would have more concerns. The fact that they are truly creating a new service and product that aligns well with what we can deliver from the Rapids and the world of [team Owner Stan] Kroenke, it puts us at ease." Santos said his company partnered with the Rapids because of "the team and what it stands for." Santos: "I'm very passionate about soccer. I was surprised to see, prior to the whole partnership being announced, how passionate the fans were and how much they care about the team" (DENVER POST, 5/18).