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Lucas Oil gets brand boost from Super Bowl venue

February 5, 2012

Any company with its name attached to the Super Bowl is about to score one of its biggest marketing bounces of the year. And none will realize a bigger victory than California-based Lucas Oil Co.

In 2008, native Hoosier and company founder Forrest Lucas paid $121.5 million for a 20-year naming rights deal for the Indianapolis Colts’ new home stadium. Some sports marketers scoffed at the price and Lucas’ strategy of attaching itself to a football venue. Until then, the company mostly had been involved in motorsports.

Today, the deal looks like a bargain.

Based on the exposure that Lucas Oil Co. will get from Sunday’s NBC telecast alone, Philadelphia-based Front Row Marketing Services projects the company will get $33.8 million in branded media value.

The average annual payment of Lucas’ naming rights deal is less than $6.1 million.

“The more than $33 million value that Lucas Oil Stadium is projected to receive from the NBC broadcast is proving that corporate naming rights partners are right,” said Eric Smallwood, a senior vice president at Front Row, a division of Comcast-Spectator.

Front Row based its numbers on the estimated $3.5 million that NBC was asking marketers for a 30-second commercial during the game. Lucas Oil is expected to get visuals from signage outside and inside the stadium, including scoreboards; verbal mentions during the broadcast and some on-screen graphics.

“Lucas Oil is not an official partner of the NFL, but as part of their corporate naming rights deal, the signage they have in place stays in place,” said Smallwood.

During the Olympics and some other high-profile events, companies that are not partners of the official sanctioning body generally have their signs removed, Smallwood added.

“Lucas’ deal, with the Colts games, Final Fours and all the other events was a slam dunk even before the Super Bowl,” said Milt Thompson, president of Grand Slam Cos., an Indianapolis-based sports marketing consultancy. “Clearly the fact that the stadium will host the Super Bowl makes this deal a runaway success for Lucas Oil.”

Lucas Oil should expect to see an immediate bump in sales, traffic to its website and inquiries to the company, Thompson said. More than 110 million Americans are expected to watch the game on TV.

“It’s all about impressions, and market research proves if consumers have a choice in products, they’ll most often go with the one they’ve heard of more times,” he said.

The exposure from pre-game and post-game coverage by other TV networks and by myriad radio, print and web publications easily could send the Super Bowl-related brand value for Lucas Oil beyond $50 million, sports marketers said.

Consider that the company will get more than $10,000 value in brand exposure just from having its name on the 68,000 Super Bowl tickets, according to Front Row Marketing.

And Lucas Oil isn’t the only winner this week.

Front Row Marketing projected that JW Marriott hotel will get more than $250,000 from brand exposure during Sunday’s Super Bowl telecast and Papa John’s pizza will get about $10,000 in brand exposure from its presence in the Super Bowl Village.

“It’s not surprising that so much value is being driven out of this one event,” Thompson said. “The Super Bowl is by far the most popular sporting event in America and any commercial property that attaches its name to it is coming up a winner.”

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