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Volume 21 No. 1
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Deal will put Tyson’s name on PBR Fan Zone

The Professional Bull Riders has signed Tyson Foods as an official partner of its Built Ford Tough Series and first title sponsor of the PBR Fan Zone space at the year-end World Finals.

The deal makes Tyson the official poultry, beef and processed foods provider of the PBR. Barry McMullin, senior vice president of partnership sales for PBR, said the one-year deal is valued in the mid- to high six figures, adding that the deal has second- and third-year options that would increase its value to the seven-figure range.

Rendering shows the PBR Fan Zone at the site of the World Finals in Las Vegas.
Rendering: PBR
PBR has between five and six partners that pay in the seven figures annually and 10 or so others that pay high-end six figures, McMullin said.

The Tyson deal aims to speak to PBR’s female audience, which McMullin said accounts for just under half of PBR’s fan base. Building from past business relationships PBR Chairman and CEO Jim Haworth has with Tyson — Haworth was chief operating officer at Wal-Mart — PBR approached Tyson with the idea that it could become that company to connect with female fans.

PBR sponsors such as Ford, Caterpillar and Jack Daniel’s speak more to the Western, rough-and-rugged lifestyle associated with bull riding. PBR officials envision an association with Tyson similar to the relationship between Campbell’s and the NFL, or Procter & Gamble and the Olympics.

The new partnership will be notably on display at the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, Oct. 23-27. Between 50,000 and 60,000 fans, primarily families, are expected to attend over the course of the five-day event.

Fan Zone locations will be set up at both the Thomas & Mack Center and at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, with Tyson signage at each. On-site activation elements will include daily cooking shows featuring Tyson products as well as a cook-off for PBR riders and their families. Tyson also will sponsor a “PBR 101” tutorial to help fans better understand the sport of bull riding.

Throughout PBR’s 2014 season, Tyson will have in-arena camera-visible signage, a presence on the concourse of the arenas hosting PBR events and pass-through rights to select grocery stores in those event markets.

Additionally, PBR has a “Wives of the PBR” weekly blog on its website that McMullin said will provide a means for Tyson to reach consumers. There also will be an online sweepstakes created in which fans can post their favorite recipes that use Tyson products to be entered into a drawing for a free trip to the 2014 World Finals.

Tyson’s sports sponsorship roster is relatively limited, with few national-level deals. Michele Bond, vice president of marketing at Tyson, said that the company is selective with its deals but that PBR provides a fit.

“Mom and her family are the focal point of our Tyson-branding advertising, messaging and product innovation,” Bond said, “and PBR aligns with those consumer interests and lifestyle.”