Below, sponsorship spending, major deals and activation strategies at the three biggest spenders in the tire category.

Bridgestone Americas, Inc.

Estimated 2017 Sponsorship Spend: $50M to $55M

Top Properties in Terms of Spending

  • National Football League
  • National Hockey League
  • World Golf Championship—Bridgestone Invitational
  • Verizon IndyCar Series

Where Bridgestone Spends Money
Where Bridgestone Spends Money

Bridgestone is using sponsorship to bring it’s “Clutch Performance” messaging to life.

The subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp. promotes the message through four sports marketing platforms: the National Football League, the National Hockey League, the PGA Tour and the Olympics.

The goal of the campaign: Tell the story of how Bridgestone tires perform when it matters most, just like top-tier athletes.

“Clutch performance weaves through every sport we’re involved in. We talk about how our tires deliver performance you need in a clutch, like a professional football player, hockey player, golfer or Olympic athlete,” said Phil Pacsi, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations vice president of sports, events marketing & training.

Bridgestone brings the narrative to life via on-site activations, retail executions and digital and social media.

Bridgestone marked the 100-day countdown to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea with an integrated marketing campaign that features the company’s five Team Bridgestone athletes and the clutch performances in their personal and professional lives.

Bridgestone sponsors country music and motorsports on behalf of its Firestone brand. Firestone has served as the official tire of the Verizon IndyCar Series for 16 seasons; the company recently extended its partnership, making it the only tire used on the track through 2020.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Estimated 2017 Sponsorship Spend: $30M-$35M

Top Properties in Terms of Spending

  • Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
  • Cleveland Cavaliers*

*Jersey patch sponsorship not included in estimated 2017 spend

Where Goodyear Spends Money
Where Goodyear Spends Money

Goodyear, which sells tires under the Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly brands in the U.S. market, sponsors professional and collegiate sports to drive awareness and consideration.

The company looks to differentiate itself from other tire companies via its long-time involvement in sports. Goodyear has provided aerial TV coverage of the Rose Bowl since 1955 and founded the Akron Goodyear Wingfoots professional basketball team in 1918.

“We are uniquely positioned to be an authentic brand in a number of major sports. We’re not just throwing our brand and logo into sports,” said Seth Klugherz, Goodyear director of marketing.

Goodyear has signed several new sponsorships over the past year with properties located near its Akron, Ohio headquarters. Ties include the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a jersey sponsorship with the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers.

Goodyear also serves as the official tire of NASCAR and the NHRA. Goodyear activates NASCAR by having drivers (Kevin Harvick, etc.) surprise unsuspecting motorists with free tread depth checks on their tires.

The company credits the sponsorships with driving preference and sales. Goodyear market share among NASCAR fans is 30 percent higher than other tire brands, while college football fans are twice as likely to purchase Goodyear tires than other brands in the tire category.

“Those are two big data points for us. They make us feel good about what we’re doing and keep us looking to elevate the game.”

Goodyear sells through roughly 500 Goodyear Tire and 100 Just Tires stores, all of which are corporately owned.

Continental Tire

Estimated 2017 Sponsorship Spend: $10M-$15M

Top Properties in Terms of Spending

  • IMG College
  • Major League Soccer/U.S. Soccer
  • Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge (IMSA)

Where Continental Tire Spends Money
Where Continental Tire Spends Money

Continental Tire focuses on two sponsorship platforms: soccer (Major League Soccer, U.S. Soccer) and college basketball (32 schools, more than a dozen pre-season tournaments and ACC and Big East post-season conference tournaments).

The company uses the sponsorships to build brand awareness, positively impact brand perception and consideration, and engage dealers.

“Ultimately, our goal is to have fans of each sport become loyal customers,” said Brian Beierwaltes, Continental Tire senior brand manager.

Continental activates the ties with sponsorship-specific TV executions (the company recently shot new TV spots with Dan Patrick), on-site consumer experiences and property-specific content distributed through its social and digital channels.

Continental also activates sponsorship with retail partners. That includes player appearances and display assets at retail locations and co-op programs that give retailers official partner status of MLS teams in key markets.