If you’ve ever watched golf on CBS Sports and seen broadcasters analyze a player’s swing with the Konica Minolta bizhub SwingVision camera, or seen a Mets outfielder make a leaping save over our Konica Minolta logo on the right field fence, then you probably know that we have a pretty significant presence in sports. As cool as it is to see our company’s name share the stage with superstar athletes in some of the biggest sports leagues in the world, this is only a tiny glimpse into how far Konica Minolta’s sports marketing initiatives reach.
To give you an idea of the extent to which we’re involved with sports, let me give you a brief breakdown of what we do. We have relationships with almost every sports league you can think of: the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, NCAA, PGA TOUR, in addition to being the title sponsor for the championship winning IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar racing team, Wayne Taylor Racing. Within these leagues, we sponsor several teams which provides us with customer engagement opportunities like hosting them in luxury hospitality suites, treating them some of the best seats in the house, and several special VIP experiences like behind-the-scenes tours, meeting players, and walking inside the ropes at golf tournaments. We also sponsor an up-and-coming PGA TOUR pro golfer, Beau Hossler, who at his most recent tournament, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, finished an impressive T7. And of course, we have signage.
Clearly our sports marketing efforts extend far and wide across interests and across the country. But as with any marketing initiative, the “what?” is far less consequential than the “why?”
So why do we have such a comprehensive presence in the sports world? There are far more benefits than you may have realized. Probably most obviously, our partnerships with these different teams bring in new business. For example, the New York Giants use the Konica Minolta AccurioPress C2070 digital press to produce their Game Day Roster Cards and the Atlanta Braves use our technology in the Konica Minolta Conference Center at SunTrust Park to host meetings. The signage that we have through our sports sponsorships also gives us a way to generate brand awareness and recognition, which can help draw in new prospects and positive public opinion.
Something unique about how we combine the power of our sponsorships with the reach of these major leagues and teams is the charitable support we can provide. As title sponsor of the National Kidney Foundation’s annual Golf Classic, we have raised over $1 million to support kidney disease research and care initiatives. We also are the title sponsor for another golf classic with the Blue Angels Foundation which, in October, raised over $1.2 million, all proceeds providing support for our wounded veterans. We also support local charities, like Hackensack Medical Center’s Tackle Kids Cancer program, and raised $20,000 to help defeat pediatric cancer. Giving back to our communities is a great example of the way we can touch people’s hearts by leveraging our sponsorships.
Something really special, however, is how our sports sponsorships provide us a way to engage with our customers and dealer community and give us that unspoken edge over our competitors. Treating a customer to a one-of-a-kind experience like sitting right behind home plate at Yankee Stadium, or seeing a champion golfer make a trophy winning putt up close, can be the factor that sways a customer to do business with us as opposed to with a competitor. Potential customers already know that we have great technologies that can benefit their businesses, but when it comes with a positive and genuine relationship with amazing opportunities, how could they ever say no?
When thinking about the power of our sports partnerships, one story always comes to mind. We were hosting a customer, his wife and kids at the Philadelphia Flyers game in our luxury suite. After the game, the customer reached out to me and told me that they had an amazing time at the game and how special they all felt being treated like VIPs. But the defining moment of the night was when former Flyer great Bernie Parent visited the suite. His wife’s father, who had passed away, used to idolize Bernie when she was a kid, and meeting him was something that touched her in a powerful, emotional way. It was a special moment for her and this story is special to me. It’s exactly this kind of experience that you just can’t put a value on. These are the opportunities that our sports sponsorships bring, and the lasting relationships that we can make to keep Konica Minolta’s reputation as elite as it should be.
So when you’re watching college basketball and see the Konica Minolta court-side signage on the big screen, or see the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac Dpi-V.R speed across the finish line on race day, just remember that some of the faces you see in the crowd are our customers (or soon-to-be customers!) that are sure to remember how great it is to work with Konica Minolta.