Gary Melliere, general manager for sponsorship at the Akron, Ohio-based company, says the USSA approached Goodyear for the sponsorship role. "We think it's a natural fit if you think about the U.S. Ski team and freestyle skiing; they excel at performance in a challenging winter experience, and we do the same with all season tires,” he says. “For them to select us as official tire combines the two in a very nice way.”
Melliere tells Marketing Daily that the partnership gives Goodyear big brand exposure, including signage at race venues and the actual ski runs and branding throughout the TV broadcast and the online live stream. The brand will have its name on a series of vignettes during broadcast coverage of the race.
The multi-year deal includes an agreement with skier Tommy Moe, who won the 1994 Winter Olympics gold medal for downhill, and the silver in Super-G. The racer has been involved in PR activities and will make several appearances at events later this year or early next year.
Goodyear is already a heavy sponsor of NASCAR and NHRA. Goodyear, in fact, signed a five-year partnership with NASCAR in February this year timed with the 2013 Daytona 500, which includes experiential elements on the ground at Daytona International Speedway, the blimp, and its brand-visible race-ready tires on all the cars.
Melliere says that even though few consumers change tires themselves but go to service bays to get it done, and are thus more susceptible to service staff recommendations, brand matters a lot. "It has a big influence; two-thirds to three-quarters of consumers start online with one or two brands in mind.”
He says that is especially the case in the cold months when conditions force a swap out of tires. "Coming up to winter, this is a great time for us with great opportunities to talk about challenging conditions; in sales, there's a strong seasonality that kicks up starting late in the third quarter."