Commentary

Bridgestone Keeps Brand Wheels Rolling For Olympics, NHL, NFL

What’s in a name?

For Bridgestone Americas, quite a lot.

As part of the grand opening of its Americas headquarters in Nashville earlier this month, Bridgestone signed a five-year extension for naming rights to the Bridgestone Arena, home for the NHL’s Nashville Predators.

Bridgestone initially acquired naming rights to the arena in 2010. The new pact, valued at between $4 and $6 million annually, runs through 2025.

“We look forward to keeping the Bridgestone brand front and center with so many passionate fans of sport, music and the countless other world-class entertainment events hosted by this celebrated venue,” Gordon Knapp, Bridgestone Americas president and CEO, said during the ceremony.

On Jan. 1, the NHL will play its 10th annual outdoor Winter Classic, which for the past nine seasons has been known as the Bridgestone Winter Classic. The company took title sponsorship of the game when it was in its infancy and now supports what has for the NHL become a major event on its schedule.

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According to the NHL, ”Bridgestone has helped elevate the NHL Winter Classic into one of the most-anticipated events, not only of the NHL season but on the big event calendar.”

(The 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the host New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres will be in Citi Field, 1 p.m. ET, NBC.)

"The partnership with the NHL aligns the Bridgestone brand with a premier sports league and a very loyal fan base, and it represents an important piece of Bridgestone's commitment to sports," Phil Pacsi, vice president of sports/events marketing and training, Bridgestone Americas, said when the 2018 Winter Classic venue was unveiled. “We have seen tremendous results from both the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and our season-long NHL activation.”

In 2016, Bridgestone Americas extended its status as the official tire for the NFL, initially signed in 2008, through 2021. As with its NHL alliance, Bridgestone has sponsorships on the local and regional level with several teams, including the Nashville-based Tennessee Titans and NHL Predators.

The Bridgestone Invitational, played in the Firestone Country Club as part of the PGA Tour, brings 30,000 visitors annually to Akron, Ohio, generates hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in finances for local restaurants, hotels and businesses, according to city officials.

The company’s sports alliances are not limited to North America.

Earlier this year, Bridgestone Corp. extended its position as a top-tier partner with the International Olympic Committee. Initially signed in 2014, it now runs through 2024, including the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in South Korea and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, where the company has its global headquarters.

A multi-media effort, “Clutch Performance,” building toward the Games in February under a global “Chase Your Dream No Matter What” campaign, features such Team Bridgestone athletes as Ashley Wagner (figure skating), Nathan Chen (figure skating), Amy Purdy (para-snowboarding), Evan Strong (para-snowboarding) and Elana Meyers Taylor (bobsled).

Via a deal with Eurosport, a pan-European TV sports network owned and operated by Discovery Communications, the campaign will reach millions of Olympic fans across 50 European markets in addition to the U.S. and elsewhere.

According to Bridgestone Corp., “The Olympic Games are one of the most effective marketing platforms in the world, reaching billions of people in over 200 countries. The partnership with the IOC is also the first global marketing platform in the history of our company and the greatest opportunity for Bridgestone to show the world who we are, the products we create and the values of our organization.”

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