Marketing and Sponsorship

Hospital sponsorships riding high after exponential growth during pandemic

Hospitals spend "millions of dollars on advertising sponsorships of sports teams every year, many though multi-year sponsorships" or partnerships that "grew even stronger during the pandemic as teams and health organizations teamed up on COVID-related programs such as vaccine distribution and informational advertising," according to Brooks Sutherland of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. A study from Wakefield Research Partners, which "surveyed 177,000 fans," concluded that "even though stadium-based assets of sponsors became less effective with fan restrictions, sponsors of sports teams reached more fans" in '20 than in '19. It is "good news" for many health companies investing in local professional sports teams. In MLB, 22 teams this year "have featured sponsorships with either a health care system or a health insurance provider." In Cincinnati, five of the region's six major health systems "have sponsorships with professional sports teams." The Reds have a "'triad' deal with TriHealth, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center." TriHealth is the "official health care provider" of the team. Mercy Health is the "jersey sponsor of FC Cincinnati and shares naming rights" for the team's Milford training center, while UC Health has a "heavy presence at Heritage Bank Center as a sponsor" of the ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones. Mercy Health CMO Sandra Mackey pointed to "three pillars of the partnership as evidence it is more than a corporate show and tell: health care and health care delivery, facility presence and Mercy's involvement into the community." FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said that Mercy's partnership with the club had "major impacts on its appeal to MLS." Berding said, "I tell everyone, but for Mercy Health, I don't know that FC Cincinnati wins the expansion process." Mackey said that the partnership "allows the two entities to partner on a number of initiatives such a young soccer, sports camps, community benefit efforts and coordinating philanthropy through the FC Cincinnati Foundation, the largest club foundation in MLS" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/20).

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