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Volume 21 No. 26

Marketing and Sponsorship

Wasserman has triumphed in an agency beauty pageant for what looks like the largest sports/experiential review of 2018 thus far: an agency of record assignment for Wells Fargo. GMR was the other finalist from what we hear was an original list of about 10 shops.

MKTG held the account for around five years.

 

Even before formulating and implementing a sponsorship marketing strategy, just reviewing Wells Fargo’s extensive portfolio of sports sponsorships will be time consuming. According to SportsBusiness Journal’s Resource Guide Live, the diversified financial services giant has more than 60 pro and college team sponsorships, along with being title sponsor of the PGA Tour stop in Charlotte, for which the current deal runs through 2019.

 

Wells Fargo’s portfolio includes the PGA Tour’s Charlotte stop.
Photo: Getty Images

Wells Fargo’s sponsorship portfolio also includes no less than three naming-rights deals. Two have the same name: the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, home to indoor football’s Iowa Barnstormers along with an AHL and G League team; and the Wells Fargo Arena at Arizona State University, which houses the Sun Devils’ men’s and women’s basketball teams, and serves as the university’s graduation venue. The third is the Wells Fargo Center, the 22-year-old Philadelphia arena that’s home to the NHL Flyers and NBA 76ers — a deal sources tell us is now costing the bank a relatively paltry $2 million a year.

 

The naming-right sponsorship on the last building is up soon, so that’s likely to be one of many initial assignments for Wasserman.

 

Well Fargo Sports Portfolio

Sports telecast ad spending (May 3, 2017-May 2, 2018): $53 million
Facility naming rights: Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia), Wells Fargo Arena (Des Moines, Iowa), Wells Fargo Arena (Tempe, Ariz.)
PGA Tour: Wells Fargo Championship (Charlotte)
MLB: Four teams
MLS: Official league partner and four teams
NBA: Two teams
NHL: Three teams
NFL: Two teams
WNBA: Two teams
30 colleges and universities
More than 20 minor league teams
More than a dozen event sponsorships

Nick Carey, senior vice president and head of sponsorship and hospitality for Wells Fargo, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

 

We’d expect whatever sort of strategy formulated for Wells Fargo to include a huge cache of cause-related marketing, a la Bank of America, after it received the $45 billion TARP bailout (eventually repaid in full) during the financial crisis in 2008-09. However, Wells Fargo has a lot more culpability to shake off. It’s been fined a billion dollars by federal regulators for abusing its mortgage and auto loan customers, practices that the Federal Reserve said involved “widespread consumer abuses and compliance breakdowns.” Thus, any marketing strategy will have to help support repairing the San-Francisco-headquartered bank’s badly battered brand image.

  

Wasserman referred inquiries to Wells Fargo. The agency’s other financial-services clients are American Express and Nationwide.

 

MAKING HISTORY? Archival specialist Heritage Werks is teaming with Fanatics’ memorabilia side, Fanatics Authentic, hoping an amalgam of history and memorabilia can only lift sales. The mission: Call it “heritage content.”

 

Victor Shaffer, executive vice president of Fanatics Authentic, said the effort is more about marketing support than one of designing and manufacturing nostalgic memorabilia. Thus, Suwanee, Ga.-based Heritage Werks will help build a database to support and market Fanatics Authentic’s collection of athlete and team relationships and memorabilia.

 

“The content they can help us create is what’s exciting for us,” Shaffer said. “Storytelling around the products we’re creating is really critical, whether that’s something we push out by email or something that lives on our sites. The idea is they’ll help us tell stories around our partnerships that will create incremental sales.”

Terry Lefton can be reached at tlefton@sportsbusinessjournal.com.