HomeExclusiveExclusive: New York Red Bulls’ Partnership Strategy Breakdown

Exclusive: New York Red Bulls’ Partnership Strategy Breakdown

Exclusive: New York Red Bulls’ Partnership Strategy Breakdown

In an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport, for the ‘Brand Break’ series, New York Red Bulls senior manager of corporate partnerships, Jordan Iannuzzi discussed the US partnership market and the club’s strategy.

Big markets vs small markets:

Commenting on big market vs small market teams, Iannuzzi said big market cities will always have a massive advantage, while small markets have challenges to overcome.

“There are successes that come along with that, for small market teams, where the media or the attendance just isn’t warranted, and it comes at a disadvantage. Typically, sponsorship investments mirror that and they’re going to mirror what the return on investment would be,” Iannuzzi said.

“Then, if you’re looking at a big market team, regardless of performance, on the court, pitch or field, they’re going to garner a lot more interest, and there’s a lot more eyeballs that go along with that. That’s going to be your biggest difference is, regardless of performance,” he said.

Another difference between big and small market teams is the national vs regional sponsorships, where small markets have an uphill battle to secure large national sponsorships versus a big market team or city.

Pillars of sponsorship strategy:

On identifying partnerships, Iannuzzi said the club uses three pillars to scout suitable companies.

“The first is going to be does this partner enhance the fan experience? If so, great, let’s let’s explore, can this partner amplify and impact the greater community? Great, we should continue to pursue it,” Iannuzzi said.

“The final pillar is to identify would be our sporting team, so how can this partner impact the sporting team on the field? For example, with a television you might think, how is that going to help our sporting team? Maybe it’s bringing these televisions into the training complex, or if it’s headphones, maybe it’s having them have better technology.

“There’s also nutrition and many other categories out there that can impact that third pillar. A lot of partnerships that are successful, we would look at and say, ‘can they touch upon multiple pillars?’ That’s really our roadmap and a starting point for myself and the team as we externally identify what are good partners for the New York Red Bulls,” he said.

Iannuzzi also said the partnerships team has to pay particular attention to who they partner with, since any bad PR won’t just affect the club but also Red Bull as a whole.

Partnership competition:

On the competition for partnerships between teams, Iannuzzi said New York is a highly competitive market due to there being two teams in the MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL and MLS.

“When I talk about competition, we’re not just vying for marketing, we’re also vying for hospitality and a lot of these partnerships have a hospitality component. That’s just scratching the surface, there’s also Broadway and a lot of ways that clients can entertain. So, if we’re looking at what our value is versus the other teams in market? Yeah, in many cases there’s high competition” Iannuzzi said.

“Then when you look at regional partnerships, you’re directly competing with those other leagues that are large and have a massive reach. It’s not to say we’re not competitive, but you have to know where you sit and what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can position it accordingly.

“Typically, what I’ll communicate to partners very early is if you’re looking at the New York Red Bulls and want to use us as an advertising tool you’re in the wrong place, you’d be better off spending that money on a targeted ad on Facebook. But, if you’re looking for more of an integration, or alignment with our fan base and being part of the experience people are having in the fandom, there’s a lot of overlap,” he said.

Iannuazzi also said different teams have different values, where some might have year-round opportunities and additional programming.

US sports organisations also have added flexibility due to most teams also owning their stadiums, which allows them to be more creative in their opportunities and activations with partners.

To read the previous brand break where chair of the 2021 Rugby World Cup, Dame Julie Christie discussed the strategies to make the tournament a success, click here.

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