WNBA's Storm Look Beyond Sponsorship Fee For Bing Benefits
The Seattle Storm of the Women’s National Basketball Association today announced that Microsoft search engine, Bing, will receive placement on Storm jerseys and become the "official decision engine of the Storm." Bing will be the third company to sign a WNBA jersey sponsorship. While terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed, Storm CEO Karen Bryant says the deal was about much more than dollars and cents.
In talking with execs from the Phoenix Mercury and L.A. Sparks, who each signed jersey sponsorships during the 2009 season, Bryant realized the investment of a Jersey sponsor was much more significant than a single sponsorship transaction.
"This announcement and our ability to secure our marquee partner ranks up there as one of the greatest moments in franchise history," said Bryant. "It's a real indicator of the health of the business, a real reflection of Microsoft's commitment to our community and the beginning of what I know will be a long and very productive partnership.
Both parties were already familiar with each other from a smaller scale sponsorship, but as discussions, which began last Fall, heated up both parties realized the potential for a larger deal.
"It was critically important that we not only secure a marquee partner but secure a marquee partner that aligned with both our values and our business objectives. Bing absolutely fits those criteria."
Bryant says the Storm will leverage their new partner's expertise, knowledge of the Web and other resources to enhance the team's social media push.
"For me, one of the most exciting elements we want to really build out is leveraging Bing's competence and expertise in technology and digital marketing," she said. "That is a core competency for them. They are at the cutting edge of innovation and technology. In a day and age of digital media and social networking, particularly when you look at that as it relates to sports teams and their connections with their fans and how we leverage social media to build our business and build our brand, they have already helped us in that arena and will continue to do so."
In addition to media assets, Bing's sponsorship will help the Storm expand their community initiatives such as community practices and clinics for youth coaches.