PHOENIX SUNS + FOOTPRINT
A CASE STUDY

What We Did

Business Development
Sales Representation
Asset Creation
Valuation & Analytics
Digital Outreach
Creative Services
Program & Platform 
Development
Account & Project
Management
Research & Insights

Overview

The Phoenix Suns selected Innovative Partnerships Group following an agency shootout to become the exclusive Agency of Record for the Suns in their quest to secure a Naming Rights partner for their newly transformed arena.

Challenge

In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, while most brand marketers were still under major restrictions and travel mandates, we set out to find a record, multi-year Naming Rights partner in a very short time frame. Innovative Partnerships Group kicked off the project in March 2021 with a stretch goal of negotiating and announcing a new Arena Naming Rights sponsor before the end of the 2020-2021 NBA Season, July 2021.

Innovation

Innovative Partnerships Group worked with the Suns leadership team to create a state-of-the-art naming rights program led by the Firm’s business development team with an innovative go-to market approach and creative prospecting.

Together with the Suns, we unlocked emerging categories including within Sustainability & ESG and created a Sustainability Wheel to showcase how the Naming Rights opportunity provide a global showcase for venues, stadiums and arenas around the world to recognize the importance of sustainable solutions and practices.

Result

In less than four months, unprecedented in the industry, from initial meetings to partnership announcement, Innovative Partnerships Group worked as an extension of the Phoenix Suns and their new partner Footprint to secure a long-term Naming Rights agreement, revealing the newly named Footprint Center (Home to the Phoenix Suns & Phoenix Mercury) on a global stage during the 2021 NBA Finals.

As a part of this mission-driven sustainable partnership the Suns organization is working with Footprint, a sustainable packaging & manufacturing company, to replace the Arena (Footprint Center) of single-use and short-term use plastics.

Innovative Partnerships Group, led by the Business Development division, was the first firm to identify and execute a global partnership committed to “plastic neutrality” while unlocking an emerging category. On the back of this partnership, with key ESG targets and mandates for the first-time, Innovative Partnerships Group has counseled and commissioned work across several of the firms’ other clients including sports franchises, prestige real estate developments and stadium projects, building Sustainable Ecosystems across a multitude of sponsor categories.
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