Nets Continue Innovative Marketing at Izod Center

Arguably the worst professional sports arena today, the Izod Center at the New Jersey Meadowlands, continues to lure sponsors with creative sponsorship packages from NJ Nets Sports and Entertainment. Brett Yormark, marketing wiz of the New Jersey Nets, who secured a post-season sponsor for a team that failed to make the playoffs, now introduces highway signage to his latest marketing deal.

In signing Vonage as the first legacy partner for the Izod Center, the deal includes highway advertising on two prominent routes leading to the Meadowlands complex. Nets Sports and Entertainment teamed with NJ Sports and Expo Authority on the deal. Legacy partners essentially have control of a concourse in the arena, in addition to heavy signage around the arena.

It’s the latest creative in a series of creative contracts arhitected by Yormark, who somehow manages to sell against an outdated arena that can’t draw fans and is on the brink of extinction if the Nets execute their planned move to Brooklyn, and with a team that operates in the background, a distant second to the Knicks even with all the problems they have had.

Highway signage is an interesting value add for potential sponsors, extending the sponsorship outside the stadium. Companies get exposure everyday and from potential customers that may not attend games. It’s a great bargaining tool for a team, since it extends the sponsorship into a high traffic area, not just a sports arena. Further, it integrates more parties into the marketing play, the NJSEA in this case. Another scenario would include local merchants within a certain radius of the arena, or colloborating with local transit for signage on buses and trains that passengers take to the arena.

Besides sweetening the marketing deal for all parties involved, outdoor advertising, particularly alternative outdoor advertising (digital, for example) is a growing business with innovation and growing revenues. The team could also try for a power-play by involving local TV and radio partners in sponsorship contracts to make the total value of the deal even bigger. Other teams should follow the Nets lead in marketing, especially smaller markets with less to work with. Somehow, though, the team continues to bleed, losing over $40 M last year. Imagine if they didn’t have almost every inch of the Izod Center sponsored.

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