When the Miami Heat introduced Assist-Card as its first-ever season presenting sponsor last week, the team became part of a trend as teams look for new ways to generate more revenue.
Assist-Card, a Geneva-based travel insurance and assistance company, forged a five-year agreement with the Heat to help the company launch its services to U.S. customers. The 39-year-old company served 7.2 million international travelers last year, but is just entering the U.S. market.
The company assists travelers with everything from lost luggage to medical care to translators to legal services. Its name will appear on tickets, banners, schedules, advertisements and arena signage. For this season, the company’s name will also appear like this: “Heat ’09-10 presented by Assist-Card.”
For the Heat, the sponsorship is a way to generate more revenue. The Heat has had playoff presenting sponsors. Other teams have had sponsors for individual games or series.
The Florida Panthers have had a presenting sponsor for the past four seasons, starting with ADT and followed the past three seasons by the Seminole Tribe, whose Seminole Casino Coconut Creek was the presenting name and the “official Florida Panthers Post Game Party Spot.” The deals have been worth mid-six figures to low seven figures.
“First and foremost the benefit from a team standpoint is revenue generated from a piece of inventory that didn’t really exist before. And for us, it has been a significant revenue source,” Panthers President Michael Yormark said.
Yormark’s twin brother, Brett, who is CEO of the New Jersey Nets introduced basketball’s first off-season sponsor, signing Wrigley to sponsor the team’s summer activities in 2007.
The Panthers are always looking at new ways to forge sponsor partnerships.
“The presenting sponsorship of a season is just the tip of the iceberg,” Yormark said. “We have a sponsor for all of our player transactions – Coral Springs Moving & Storage. These types of things are only going to expand in the future because they provide a company with a customized exposure package that is unique to their partnership and will more efficiently help them meet their goals and objectives.”