Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Huntington Park: A Double Play: Banks Partner with Ballparks for a Unique Sponsorship Opportunity

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Huntington Park: A Double Play: Banks Partner with Ballparks for a Unique Sponsorship Opportunity

Article excerpt

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BASEBALL IS DEEPLY ROOTED in our country's culture, and minor league baseball stadiums are central hubs for the surrounding communities who flock there when the weather turns warmer. All this offers ripe sponsorship opportunities for banks, which consider ballparks in alignment with many of their own ideals.

"It's such a great, great sport. It's all-American. It's a part of our community, and it shares the same values that we do as an institution," says Patty Barton, marketing and communications manager for the central Ohio region of $60.9 billion-assets Huntington National Bank, which sponsors the Clippers' Huntington Park in Columbus. "We just thought connecting with them would be an extension of our brand."

Aligning with a ballpark can help cement a bank's identity in the community, especially if the park has a high profile. "The Greensboro Grasshoppers are almost iconic in the Greensboro area, and having us associated so closely with such a positive image is exactly where we want to be," says Spence Broadhurst, chief banking officer of $2 billion-assets NewBridge Bank, which sponsors NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C. "We consider ourselves Greensboro's bank, and that just helps solidify that position."

With most sponsorships lasting around 20 years or more, there really is an opportunity to make an impact in the surrounding community, and banks often use park events to reach out. For example, at NewBridge Bank Park, there is an annual Military Appreciation Day, and the bank buys tickets for military veterans and their families to enjoy a day at the ballpark.

On Wednesday nights, Knot Hole Kids Club members get in free at Huntington Park, and membership cards are available at Huntington branches. "There's a lot that's offered to the community because of our partnership," says Barton. …

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