The football connection is a new one for BofA, which is already an official sponsor of Major League Baseball. "Our plan is to take that marketing model [for affinity checking] and drive it through our entire suite of consumer banking products," said spokesperson Joe Goode. Full rollout is tentatively set for early 2007.
BofA--headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., and the second-largest U.S.-based bank behind CitiGroup of New York--officially launched its affinity checking program on Sunday by doling out 139,000 free checkbook covers at home games played by the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers.
Fans of both the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys will receive team-branded checkbook covers at games on Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, respectively. BofA is the official bank sponsor of each of these four teams. When the full program launches early next year, specific rewards tied to usage will be offered, Goode said. One hypothetical reward would be a chance to win a date with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady each time a BofA customer uses a debit card featuring the team's logo.
"The introduction of these new checks appeals to consumers who appreciate two of the region's most visible brands," said Anne Finucane, BofA CMO and Northeast president, in a statement. "We're proud that Patriots football can now be a key part of our customers' everyday banking experience."
In January, BofA merged with MBNA, one of the nation's leading marketers of affinity credit cards. Shortly after the merger, it introduced online sales of more than 200 affinity credit cards for certain sports, universities and charities. This is the first NFL-themed initiative.
Separately, Chase is teaming with Soccer United Marketing to offer a credit card reward program specifically for soccer fans. The Chase Ultimate Fan Rewards Program will offer cardmembers access to exclusive soccer event experiences, memorabilia, and authentic Major League Soccer merchandise when redeeming points. Fans can pick a card design from any of the 12 MLS teams, the U.S. National Team or the Mexican National Team. The card will be marketed this fall at Chase kiosks set up at soccer stadiums.