What are the key sponsorship drivers for retail banks? What inventory should properties be prepared to offer?

Below, IEG SR highlights eight hot buttons in the retail bank category.

Drive branch traffic. Nearly every bank looks for tickets and other inventory that can be used to incentivize branch traffic.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has activated Madison Square Garden with a promotion in its roughly 1,100 Chase branches in the greater New York City market.

The promotion dangled tickets to customers who deposited incremental funds into their accounts. The promotion used a tiered system: the more money a consumer deposited, the better the tickets they received.

Chase’s massive presence in New York City played a key role in MSG’s decision to partner with the bank, said Ron Skotarczak, MSG’s executive vice president of marketing partnerships.


Figures represent the percentage of properties with a sponsor in the retail bank category reporting sponsorship from each company.

Drive online traffic. In addition to branch traffic, banks are increasingly using sponsorship to drive traffic to their web sites and other online portals.

“It’s not just about our branches—it could be driving people online or to our mobile apps,” said Tim Collins, senior vice president of experiential marketing at Wells Fargo & Co.

Wells Fargo has used digital advertising around its college athletic programs to drive consumers to its mobile app, he said, noting that consumers can use the app to make an appointment with a private banker.

“We want to be channel agnostic.”

Promote corporate values. TD Bank activates music festivals with on-site comfort zones to play up its core value of customer service, while  it sponsors recycling stations to promote its green positioning.

On the sports front, BBVA uses the NBA and other ties to support its values of fair play, respect for rules, teamwork, transcending barriers, ethical behavior and personal and professional integrity.

Deploy ATMs. Most banks look to place ATMs at sponsored events.

The machines can be profitable: TD Bank ATMs at Boston’s TD Garden are some of the bank’s most active machines.

Promote credit cards. Banks frequently look for opportunities to promote multiple products and services, including credit cards.

The Madison Square Garden Co. and Chase in 2012 expanded their partnership to make Chase the official card of Madison Square Garden. The bank activates the tie by offering ticket presale, behind-the-scenes experiences and other one-of-a-kind opportunities to Chase cardholders.

Other banks downplay the importance of credit card rights.

“We do not have the single-serve credit card business like Bank of America, Capital One, Chase or Citibank, so it’s not much of a factor,” said Wells Fargo’s Collins.

U.S. Retail Bank Sponsorships By Number Of Deals

U.S. Retail Bank Sponsorships By Number Of Deals

Gain business from sponsored properties. Like other B2B categories, banks often look to gain business from sponsored properties and their sponsors.

“Properties have been aggressive at holding out that carrot. It’s not necessarily a decision-maker for us, but it is a factor,” said Collins.

Demonstrate community involvement. Chase activates MSG through a tie-in to community outreach programs on behalf of the NBA New York Knicks (Basketball in the Boroughs) and NHL New York Rangers (Rangers Assist).

In addition to supporting its community involvement, Chase uses the partnerships to drive branch traffic by hosting events featuring retired players.

Promote financial literacy. Wells Fargo activates the University of North Carolina and other schools with financial education programs for student athletes.