is about to tie Putnam's [see profile]
brand to that of a high profile, professional Beantown sports team. Today the Boston-based mutual fund firm unveiled a partnership with the Kraft Sports Group, which owns the New England Patriots
NFL football team, the New England Revolution MLS soccer team and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts (outside Boston). For an undisclosed sum, Putnam's brand will be on the 6,000-seat, indoor Putnam Club at the stadium, scheduled to open in September.
The Boston Globe
and the Boston Herald
both reported on the news.
Putnam succeeds the Boston Behemoth, Fidelity
, which previously sponsored the club. Reynolds, himself a Fidelity veteran, has hired numerous Fidelity alumni since taking over Putnam several years ago. Ann Crowley, a spokeswoman for Fidelity, confirmed that the fund giant had sponsored the Patriots for 10 years but decided to let that deal expire.
"We signed a new agreement with them that's more in line with what we have with the Bruins, the Celtics and the Red Sox," Crowley told MFWire.com
. "Basically, it's having a suite at the stadium."
Reynolds described the new, multi-year partnership as "a unique opportunity" for Putnam.
"I've known the Kraft family for a long time ... and over the past 10 years, the Patriots have been the winningest franchise in the NFL," Reynolds told MFWire.com
, noting that the team has a strong local, national and even international following. "We took at this and thought it was a tremendous opportunity ... This broadens our marketing."
In addition to branding on the club itself, Reynolds confided that Putnam's brand will be added elsewhere, too; a parking lot for premium ticket holders will be renamed the "Putnam Lots", and they will drive on "Putnam Way" to get there. Putnam's logo will appear on the scoreboard and throughout the stadium, as well as on TV and on affiliated websites.
"We're investing a lot in it," Reynolds said. "They're investing a lot in it."
"I have the utmost respect for Bob Reynolds and his team," Kraft Group chairman Robert Kraft said in a press release. "We are proud and honored that Putnam Investments is our new marketing partner, and look forward to combining our two great brands for years to come."
Putnam also sponsors the U.S. Olympic ski and snowboard team, the annual Putnam Equestrian Classic charity fundraiser and other athletes and sporting events. And Reynolds is open to more partnerships along those lines.
"Anything that presents itself, we'll take a look at," Reynolds said.
Company Press Release
Foxborough, MA, July 28, 2011 -- Putnam Investments and the Kraft Sports Group today announced a multi-faceted, multi-year marketing partnership. The new agreement carries broad awareness-building opportunities with high-profile branding of new and improved properties at Gillette Stadium. By teaming with the New England Patriots, Putnam will also receive significant local and national exposure through various forms of media. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The long-term marketing partnership aligns Boston-based Putnam Investments, one of the nation’s leading investment management firms, with the New England Patriots, one of the strongest and most recognizable brands in professional sports.
“Putnam Investments is proud to be associated with the New England Patriots, which has come to signify performance excellence and a winning tradition based on hard work, talent and a passion for teamwork,” said Robert L. Reynolds, President and Chief Executive Officer, Putnam Investments. “Under the inspiring leadership of Robert and Jonathan Kraft, the New England Patriots have earned a reputation for success that is as powerful off the field as it is on. Together, we will make a very formidable team.”
Commenting on the new agreement with Putnam Investments, Robert Kraft, Chairman of The Kraft Group said, “Joining forces with elite, New England-based companies as our naming rights partners has been a priority from the time we conceived of building the stadium. I have the utmost respect for Bob Reynolds and his team, who lead a well-regarded global money manager. We are proud and honored that Putnam Investments is our new marketing partner, and look forward to combining our two great brands for years to come.”
Reynolds indicated that the new initiative represents the next step in Putnam’s strategic marketing efforts by providing a regionally based, top-tier opportunity that is national in scope.
“The broad reach of the National Football League, widely recognized as the nation’s most popular sport, combined with the universal appeal of the New England Patriots, makes this an extraordinarily attractive sponsorship,” he said.
Under Reynolds’s direction, the firm has engaged in key talent acquisition to augment existing capabilities, rebuilt Putnam’s equity and research investment platforms, bolstered its retirement business, enhanced its technology and revitalized the brand of the nearly 75-year-old company.
Redefining the Fan Experience
A key element of the new partnership will be to help redefine and elevate the fan experience through use of leading technology, social media and greater levels of connectivity, which will be wrapped in Putnam branding. The new concepts are a result of the close-working relationship of Putnam and the Kraft Sports Group, and will be unveiled this fall.
One of the primary features will be the Putnam Club, consisting of two 60,000-square-foot indoor club spaces which serve as the game-day home of more than 6,000 club seat holders. The Putnam Club will have a highly contemporary look and feel, providing enhanced views of the field from indoors. New high-resolution digital signage will deliver a more informative and entertaining fan experience, while interactive messaging throughout the facility ties the rich history and culture of the Putnam brand with the New England Patriots organization.
The Putnam Club is scheduled to officially open in September, when additional details will be announced.
About Putnam Investments
Founded in 1937, Putnam Investments is a leading global money management firm with over 70 years of investment experience. The firm was recently named one of the top 15 mutual fund families by Lipper/Barron’s for the second consecutive year. At the end of June 2011, Putnam had $129 billion in assets under management, including mutual fund assets of $68 billion and institutional assets of $61 billion. Putnam has offices in Boston, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney. For more information, visit putnam.com.
About the Kraft Sports Group
The Kraft Sports Group, headquartered in Foxborough, MA, is the sports and entertainment division of The Kraft Group, the holding company for the Kraft family’s various business interests. Kraft Sports Group properties include the three-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution and Gillette Stadium, New England’s premier venue for sports, concerts and special events. For more information, please visit www.thekraftgroup.com/sports_entertainment.
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