Sponsors don’t waste a chance to activate at NFL training camps

(Credit: Michael Colangelo, Sports Business Institute)
(Credit: Michael Colangelo, Sports Business Institute)

OXNARD, Calif. – – It is natural to see big brands activating at large venues and marquee events. AT&T’s stadium naming rights deal with the Dallas Cowboys is one large and constant activation as Jerry’s World is used for Cowboy games, Final Fours, and college bowl and kickoff games. Companies involved in that type of major sponsorship deal do not miss a chance to activate, and increasingly, we are seeing similar activations at smaller venues. Brands are activating any chance they get, be it with summer league basketball or NFL training camp practices.

The Cowboys have not created an additional revenue stream by charging for attendance, but the franchise is definitely monetizing training camp through sponsorship activations. Instead of AT&T as the title sponsor, Ford is the official sponsor of the Cowboys training camp. It was difficult to miss Ford and Miller Lite (the official beer of the Dallas Cowboys, but not the NFL as that distinction goes to Bud Light) activations at the practice facility.

(Credit: Michael Colangelo, Sports Business Institute)
(Credit: Michael Colangelo, Sports Business Institute)

The Cowboys don’t only associate with the big brands. I noticed banners for a local BBQ restaurant as well. The partnership makes sense for both the restaurant and the Cowboys. Who doesn’t want BBQ after a day of watching a team from Dallas? Since it is a local company, fans from Los Angeles and Ventura counties may increase sales at the restaurant. The Cowboys associate with a local brand that provides a style of cuisine closely associated with Texas. Plus, the Cowboys get more sponsorship money. Team personnel may even get free catering out of it.

(Credit: Michael Colangelo, Sports Business Institute)
(Credit: Michael Colangelo, Sports Business Institute)

So where does this leave the Cowboys’ largest partner, AT&T? Well, AT&T did have one sign up at the facility . . . and a coveted spot on the front right corner of all Cowboys practice jerseys. There has been a lot of discussion about the NBA adding sponsors to its jerseys. The NBA logo has been moved to the back of the jersey in what some see as a precursor to sponsors having a patch on the front right corner. There has not been a lot of talk of this in the NFL, but if practice jerseys are a sign of things to come, the NFL may beat the NBA once again.

Michael Colangelo is Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute and Senior Editor of The Fields of Green.

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