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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

Pacers, McDonald's launching splashy ad campaign

November 19, 2014
KEYWORDS Sports Business

The Indiana Pacers and McDonald’s are rolling out a new sponsorship campaign next month that is sure to be eye grabbing.

The campaign will feature ads on 130 billboards across Indianapolis, Anderson, Bloomington, Kokomo, Lafayette and Muncie. In addition, the campaign will include in-store promotions at all 158 area McDonald’s restaurants.

The billboards promote Single Double Triple, a new local deal that includes $1 cheeseburgers, $1.50 double cheeseburgers and a $2 triple cheeseburgers.

The billboards will be adorned in Pacers blue and gold and feature the team’s “Blue Collar Gold Swagger” slogan. They will also feature basketball-themed terms such as “Triple Team.”

The in-store campaign will consist of window posters and in-store and drive-through menu board advertisements. McDonald’s employees also will be wearing co-branded Pacers-McDonald’s T-shirts in support of the team.

McDonald’s, which sponsored the team several years ago, re-joined the Pacers sponsorship stable last year, and sought to expand the deal this year.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but team officials indicated it is a significant deal. Sports marketers pegged it in the low to mid six-figure range.

Terry Tiernon, Pacers vice president of corporate partnerships, said the deal is important due to its “level of activation.” Sponsorship activation—the level with which a sponsor promotes its relationship with a sports property—has long been stressed in the world of motorsports and is now picking up speed with stick-and-ball sports.

For years, sports properties merely attracted sponsors by plastering their signs around venues or—in racing—on cars. Now, sponsors and sports properties are looking for a deeper level of involvement.

Tiernon says activation is a critical component to Pacers’ sponsor campaigns because it not only heightens the team’s brand, but assures paying sponsors “get a better return on investment.”

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