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Volume 27 No. 10
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Quicken Loans Becomes NFL's First Official Mortgage Sponsor

Quicken Loans has signed a multiyear NFL sponsorship for its Rocket Mortgage brand in an effort to seek greater brand awareness and preference. The move comes just in time for marketing activation during the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl. To supports its new designation as the NFL's first official mortgage sponsor, Rocket Mortgage is immediately launching a national Super Bowl "squares" game, in which consumers "owning" a box with a particular score are eligible to win $50,000 each time the score changes. Two "lucky square" holders will win $500,000 each toward the mortgage on their dream home. Marketing support will include digital, social and TV ads. A Super Bowl spot seems likely, as Rocket Mortgage advertised during the game in '16 and '18. Pro Football HOFer Barry Sanders will serve as spokesperson for the program. NFL VP/Business Development & Sponsorship Nana-Yaw Asamoah said discussions on the deal began in July and heated up in November, as activation plans tied to next month's Super Bowl LIV gained support within Quicken. The deal was finalized within the past two weeks. "Partners in new categories are always exciting for us, of course," he said. As the sponsorship agency since '11 for Quicken Loans/Rocket Mortgage, Intersport, Chicago, helped negotiate and will activate the sponsorship. Other NFL corporate sponsors from the financial services category include Visa; Intuit for its Turbotax software; Barclays, issuer of the NFL Extra Points credit card; and insurers USAA and Nationwide.

HIP TO BE SQUARES: Super Bowl squares games are fixtures this time of year in offices and local retailers. They have been used promotionally largely by online sports books and casinos, but have rarely, if ever, been used for a national marketing promotion. At a time when 14 states have legalized sports betting, this shows how the NFL's standards have changed. This will be the first Super Bowl squares countenanced by the league. Similar programs for the lender included a sponsorship with Churchill Downs for a "Homestretch Sweepstakes" and a "Billion-Dollar Bracket" contest around the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

LATEST DEAL IN GROWING PORTFOLIO: Quicken, founded by Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert, has been the country's largest residential mortgage lender since late '17. As the brand has grown, so has its sponsorship portfolio, with deals in NASCAR, the PGA Tour and entitlement of the Cleveland arena that houses the Cavaliers. Quicken/Rocket also sponsors more than 25 Learfield/IMG colleges. It also has a longstanding partnership with the Lions, which until now had been its only NFL rights deal.