The U.S. Open is underway and although tennis fans can’t attend this year’s tournament in person, JPMorgan Chase is offering unique experiences for fans at home.
This is the financial services company’s 39th year sponsoring the event. Frank Nakano, head of sports and entertainment marketing for JPMorgan Chase, shares how the brand has pivoted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q. What are some of the ways Chase has had to pivot this year to accommodate not having fans at the event?
A. Given the inability of fans to attend and social distancing restrictions in place, we pivoted our focus to digital experiences to enhance the U.S. Open for customers, clients and fans. We have a lot of special virtual events and exclusive experiences we are offering to clients from match previews, to discussions with sports legends, to virtual cooking demos.
Q. How do you translate/transfer event marketing to a digital forum?
A. JPMorgan Chase is known for our onsite client and customer hospitality experience as well as onsite fan enhancements such as the Chase Charge & Watch and “magic ATM.”
Last year was our tenth year hosting the Chase Lounge, a space exclusively for Chase customers. In 2019, more than 10,000 customers relaxed in the newly renovated space and enjoyed a U.S. Open hat, snacks, beverages and live streaming of matches.
Given the inability of fans to attend and social distancing restrictions in place, we did have to drop certain in-person activations, but are excited to offer similar experiences on a digital platform.
The Chase Lounge has gone digital this year via chase.com/usopen where customers can find things like match previews and cooking demos.
While we can’t wait to offer in-person experiences when it is safe to do so, we are very pleased with how we transferred our in-person experiences to digital.
For example, through the national #UnlocktheOpen sweeps, we’re going to make sure over 8,000 people still receive that Chase/USO branded hat to have a tangible keepsake from this year.
Q. Are there any positive aspects to the current situation?
A. The scale of virtual events does provide an opportunity for those who wouldn’t be able to participate in person. For example, we recently had more than 700 clients participate in a mid-afternoon U.S. Open preview with Tournament Director Stacey Allaster.
Also, our virtual events are not limited to customers and clients. On August 28, we kicked off a virtual version of our Chase Sound Check platform introduced at the U.S. Open last year and more than 490,000 people have viewed the concert on Chase’s YouTube channel featuring Khalid, Chloe x Halle and Kane Brown.
We’re directing clients, customers and fans to chase.com/usopen through our owned assets such as social media, ATM screens, and digital signage in branches.
We’ll also rely on the reach of U.S. Open digital and social platforms to amplify awareness and engagement with our virtual experiences. To supplement, we have partnerships with Conde Nast and ESPN to deliver content and drive users to our digital hub.
Q. As a longtime sponsor (39 years), what other world events have caused pivots in the past?
A. The tragedy of September 11, 2001 has remained top of mind not only for JPMorgan Chase, but also the USTA as a whole.
Given the tournament’s annual timing around September 11, we continue to observe moments of silence throughout the day (when the tournament overlaps) and remain respectful, honoring the significance of Sept.11 and our first responders within U.S. history.
Q. Is it important that sponsors stick by their events, which may be suffering financially as a result of no live audience?
A. We feel it is important, and we have great partners in all of our properties.
When COVID-19 hit NYC particularly hard, we worked with our partners at Madison Square Garden to transition from sponsorship to support front-line workers through funding a program that delivered 18,000 meals from 60 Chase business-partner restaurants to over 119 essential worker organizations.