By Barry Janoff
September 7, 2016: Maybe the NFL's Rams franchise should have move back to Los Angeles sooner.
The team, which this season returns to Los Angeles after playing in St. Louis since 1995, has signed numerous marketing and sponsorship deals in anticipation of the 2016 season.
The latest is Wells Fargo, under which the banking firm will unveil multi-media marketing, with the primary focus to sponsor the “Community Player of the Week” program, in which a Rams player and a Wells Fargo team member will be recognized for their excellence in community service.
The banking firm joins a growing list of marketing and sponsorship partners that also includes American Airlines (official airline), Anheuser-Busch InBev (Bud Light, official domestic beer), Constellation Brands (Corona Extra, official imported beer), Papa John's (official pizza), Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions (official supermarket), Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (official health partner), Vivid Seats (fan travel) and Banc of California (official banking partner for the Los Angeles Rams Foundation).
In addition, Microsemi Corp., Orange Country's larger chip-making firm, has naming rights to the Rams practice facility at University of California-Irvine, where the the Rams will hold their annual summer training camp for the next three years.
(Editor's note: The team has since signed a deal with Hyundai, based in Southern California and the official car for the NFL, as the their official car partner.)
The team, which played in Los Angeles from 1946-1994 before relocating to St. Louis, is also being featured on HBO's Hard Knocks.
And six of the team's players will get star treatment this fall on a new limited-run reality series, Hollywood & Football. Scheduled to air on E!, it promises to take viewers "inside the exclusive lifestyles of these top athletes and their families as they navigate a new city, new friendships, new schools and the inevitable Hollywood gossip," the network said in a statement,
The majority of marketing focus is based on welcome home and welcome back themes, which the team itself used in a pre-season campaign throughout the region featuring several of its players.
“American is one of the largest employers in Los Angeles and our more than 6,000 employees based at LAX are proud to welcome the Rams back home,” Fernand Fernandez, American’s vp-global marketing said when the alliance was unveiled last month. “Our partnership with Los Angeles’ returning football team highlights our commitment to the community.”
American said it operates more than 220 flights to 70 global destinations from LAX.
Due in part to the return of the NFL to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board said that visitation to Los Angles is expected to set a new record in 2016 with more than 46.5 million total visitors, an increase of 2.4% from the previous record-setting year.
Domestic overnight visitation to Los Angeles is expected to grow 2.1% to almost 24 million this year while international visitation is estimated to grow 3.9% to more than seven million. Total visitor spend in 2016 is projected to eclipse $21.5 billion, an increase of 4.4% from last year, according to LATCB.
Wells Fargo, which joined the team's roster late last week, expressed a similar commitment to that of American Airlines.
“At Wells Fargo we believe our long-term success is directly linked to the success of the communities we serve," David DiCristofaro, Wells Fargo region president for Greater Los Angeles, said of the Rams deal. "That is why we are recognizing dedicated players and team members who are engaging in important work in our local schools and nonprofit organizations to help those who need it most.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Rams' return than to honor the players who are making Los Angeles a better place to call home," said DiCristofaro.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Rams' return than to honor the players who are making Los Angeles a better place to call home."
Anheuser-Busch included its three-year Rams deal in a new commercial focusing on team-specific Bud Light cans, "Bud Light: Your Can's Year," calling it the "can that brought football back to L.A."
Bud Light is the official beer for the NFL and also has deals with 28 of the league's 32 teams.
Brands are seeking to tie into not just high-profile nation attention being paid to the franchise's return to Los Angeles but long-term visibility, as well.
The team, led by majority owner Stan Kroenke, said it has sold all tickets for its first return season, to be played in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which will hold upward of 80,000 for NFL games.
Last season, the St. Louis Rams averaged 52,402 attendance per game in Edward Jones Dome and totaled 419,220 fans, both figures the lowest in the league, per the NFL.
The Los Angeles Rams' first regular-season game on Sept. 12 vs. San Francisco 49ers will air nationally on ESPN's Monday Night Football.
The Rams' first home game is Sept. 18 vs. the Seattle Seahawks, on Fox.
Residence in the Coliseum is short-term as the franchise is building a $2.6 billion venue in Inglewood scheduled to open for the 2019 campaign.
The NFL earlier this year selected the new stadium to host Super Bowl LV in February 2021. It has been slated to host Summer Olympic events if Los Angeles gets the 2024 bid from the International Olympic Committee.
"The estimated annual price for (naming rights to) the stadium is $18-$20 million, which factors in getting one Super Bowl over ten years," and may even top $25 million if a second team moves in with the Rams," said Eric Smallwood, managing partner for Apex Marketing Group, St. Clair, Mich., a leading naming rights and sponsorship marketing firm.
Sponsorship top-tier deals beyond a naming rights deal could hit $40,425,000 if one team plays there, $74,294,278 for a two-team stadium, according to Smallwood.
Several players are popping up in local and national marketing, led by sophomore running back and NFL offensive rookie of the year Todd Gurley, whose deals include Nike, Gatorade, Carl's Jr., Bose and GameFly.
Head coach Jeff Fisher will debut his own show on ESPN Radio on Sept. 13.
Meanwhile, companies are extending their partnerships with the Rams to include more than TV, print, Internet, in-stadium and social media marketing.
Cedars-Sinai also will serve as the presenting sponsor for the Kids Zone at all Rams home games, described as a "fun and interactive play area that will be open during pre-game just outside the Coliseum in the Rams Fan Fest area."
Wells Fargo is offering three new Los Angeles Rams debit and prepaid card designs.
American Airlines' logo will appear in the stadium for home games and in other related media including TV, radio and print. The carrier's customers and employees will also have the opportunity to take part in Rams-branded activities and events during the season, including a Day of Service in support of a community project.
Corona Extra's pact includes exclusivity in the imported beer category, in-stadium signage, use of the Rams' logos and other marks on packaging and POP, sponsorship of stadium Replay Feature bumpers, in-stadium and gameday activations and presenting sponsorship of the new party zone Corona Beach House experience on the east side of the stadium.
Corona Extra, which served as the presenting sponsor for Rams' pre-season-opener on Aug. 13, will also be integrated into the Rams' Hispanic Heritage Month program in October.
According to Jim Sabia, CMO for Corona Extra and Constellation Brands beer division, "We couldn't be more proud to help welcome back the Rams to their hometown of Los Angeles. Corona Extra has been teaming up with Angelenos each football season to find their game day beach, and we can't wait to cheer on the Rams with fans in their homes and in the stadium this year."
Super Bowl LV Will Drive Up Price, Rewards For L.A. Stadium Naming Rights
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