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Volume 21 No. 1
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White Sox sponsor links deal to charities

The Chicago White Sox have signed a three-year partnership with Magellan Corp. in which the Illinois-based steel distributor will become the title sponsor of U.S. Cellular Field’s Scout Seats and Scout Lounge and use the premium-seating areas to promote local charitable and cultural institutions.

Magellan, which will replace United Airlines as the title sponsor of the area, has no consumer-facing profile, and doesn’t even have a website. So rather than focus its marketing energies at the ballpark solely around itself, Magellan has selected five Chicago-area entities that will be prominently promoted through static and rotational signs and other activation.

The groups are Gilda’s Club, a cancer support organization formed in the memory of late comedienne Gilda Radner; La Rabida Children’s Hospital; the Old Town School of Folk Music; the Chicago Council on Science and Technology; and the DuSable Museum of African American History. The club’s own charitable vehicle, Chicago White Sox Charities, also will be spotlighted in the premium areas.

“We embrace the missions and activities of these groups,” said Bob Arthur, Magellan president. “We have a finite customer base, and don’t need to market to the general consumer base. So we’re using this platform to highlight these groups.”
There was no need for the White Sox to extensively prescreen Magellan’s chosen organizations; the club has worked with nearly all of them in some fashion, largely through White Sox Charities.

Financial terms were not disclosed. A key figure in developing the deal was Gail Tucker, White Sox director of corporate partnerships activation.

Magellan was an existing sponsor and suite holder of the White Sox. The company quickly seized upon the opportunity for the Scout Seats, 322 seats situated directly behind home plate, when United sought to shift its in-ballpark exposure to a large outfield sign.

“This was a company that we knew very well and were very familiar with,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox chief marketing officer. “This is very valuable inventory we have with these seats, and we think it’s going to send a very powerful message. When United made their move, Magellan jumped in right away. With a b-to-b kind of relationship, the most important thing is relationships, and this will create a great deal of awareness.”

Magellan is also aligned with the Chicago Bulls, also owned by White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.