The other partners earned a good deal of attention in the two broadcasts as well, as the visibility of Bud Light, Pepsi and Verizon signage equaled five 30-second spots valued at some $1.75 million, according to Navigate.
“You have two huge teams that generate enormous ratings and loyal, engaged fan bases, and because they share the property, you now have 16 home games instead of eight,” says Jennifer Storms, svp of PepsiCo sports marketing. “And then there are the endemic brand opportunities, from retail to hospitality to PR. You can measure the value in so many different ways. We’re not just looking at a GRP or an impression.”
For an endemic partner like Anheuser-Busch, a cornerstone partnership is not about creating a monopoly for Bud Light (a wrinkle in New Jersey law prohibits in-stadium exclusivity for beer distributors) but about developing a more profound relationship with the fan. “People know what Bud Light is,” says Brad Brown, Anheuser-Busch vp, sports and entertainment marketing. “This was an opportunity to build something that would allow us to connect with the fan at the local level, where avidity lies.”
Verizon has leveraged its real estate to showcase its various communications services, including mobile, WiFi and FiOS TV. It also wired the stadium for WiFi. “It’s a way to bring the company together, to sort of present Verizon as a single brand,” says John Harrobin, Verizon Wireless vp, marketing and communications. “Nowhere in this building do you see a Verizon Wireless sign or a FiOS sign. The idea is to market the services together to their constituents rather than break them up.”
As the partners reflect on their investment, a forthcoming event at the venue promises still richer rewards, as MetLife Stadium will play host to the Super Bowl in 2014.
“The Super Bowl is going to change the game,” Storms says. “We have to work together now—not six months out, but literally after this year’s Super Bowl. Because we have to figure out how we’re going to own New York and New Jersey, the only way we can do that without trampling all over each other is to start putting our heads together now.”
Mike Stevens, CMO of the NFC champion Giants, says the first-ever cold-weather Super Bowl in a nonenclosed venue in 2014 could prove to be a perfect storm of hype and meteorology. “More people who approach [Giants quarterback] Eli [Manning] seem to want to talk about the NFC Championship game in Green Bay four years ago than the Super Bowl win,” he says. “A lot of classic games have been played in the snow, and this will be the first time that might happen in a Super Bowl.”
Meanwhile, as the Giants get ready to face New England in Indianapolis, the partners continue to look for a sponsor to occupy the cornerstone freed up by MetLife’s increased stake. “It’s the ultimate commitment—as permanent as permanent gets,” Stevens says. “The sponsor has to be something the fans approve of, and it has to complement our partners who are already with us.”
Not only that, but as MetLife Stadium president and CEO Mark Lamping points out, the new partner must first pass muster with Giants president and CEO John Mara and Jets owner Woody Johnson.
“You’ve never seen the level of ownership engagement that I’ve seen here,” Lamping says. “They want a stable company that represents a stable category. If something goes wrong, it’s not like you can just change them out like a billboard.”
Click here to read Robert Klara's additional stadium coverage
Click here to view more content from The Sports Issue.