With a relatively strong foothold already in the Philadelphia market, Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co. recently announced that it has become an official sponsor for NBA team the Philadelphia 76ers.
Brewery officials say the partnership will build on the company’s already strong presence at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, where the 76ers and other teams call home.
“The Wells Fargo Center as a whole has been a huge account for us for a number of years,” Sandy Anaokar, Founders’ vice president of marketing, told MiBiz. “We’re one of the top craft beers poured at the Wells Fargo Center, and that’s a testament to our sales team getting the distribution with the 76ers and associated teams at the Wells Fargo Center.
“This has been going on for years and our sales team has been able to establish a good rapport with the Philadelphia market and the 76ers.”
The partnership goes into effect beginning in the second half of the team’s 2021 season. In addition to its general designation as an official sponsor, Founders and the 76ers have collaborated to produce limited-edition, co-branded All Day IPA packaging and cans, which will be distributed exclusively in the Philadelphia market and is the primary component of the partnership.
A promotion of this nature — one that does not rely on signage or recognition inside the arena — is vital, as the 76ers have kicked off the season restricting fan entry, on par with most teams throughout the league.
“(The pandemic) has opened up avenues to be able to communicate with consumers in different ways primarily in the off-premises (market) and find creative ways to reach consumers,” Anaokar said. “It’s changed the marketing model on how we reach consumers.”
Terms of the partnership were not disclosed, but it comes as minor and major league sports organizations are scrounging for sponsorship dollars as they are unable to provide the traditional in-arena promotion and advertising.
Over the years, Founders has leveraged both minor and major leagues sports as a marketing tool, but the 76ers sponsorship is an unprecedented one for the company.
“We do have representation throughout the country, whether it’s through advertising or just beer being poured in a number of stadiums, both professional and minor league,” Anaokar said. “I would say we probably have a bigger representation from an advertising side at the minor league level, but our beers are poured in a number of different stadiums — primarily All Day IPA.”
While this recent partnership takes place hundreds of miles away from Founders’ home, Anaokar said that the brewery also has partnerships and promotions on the horizon for Michigan.
“While this announcement right now to kick off the year with the 76ers is not local to our home state, we have a lot of really cool things planned for the year that we’ll be announcing throughout the course of the year,” Anaokar said.
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