As part of its deal with Bing, Microsoft’s search engine not only got practice jersey rights to the Seahawks, it also got the mic flag for the press conferences.
So when new head coach Pete Carroll announced the new draft picks this week, the mic he was speaking at had the Bing logo on it.
“We invested a lot of money over the weekend,” said Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke. “We rely on partnerships with companies like Bing to make our business work. The mic flag seemed to be a rational thing to offer as part of our bigger relationship with the Bing brand.
The partnership with the brand might be even more of a natural because the team is owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
“We’re interested in building this brand in unique, unconventional ways and the mic flag is an example of that,” said Lisa Gurry, director of marketing and public relations for Bing. “By putting our brand on the mic flag, we’re putting our brand front and center of the most important dialogue that takes place.”
Bing recently purchased the rights to have its logo put on the jerseys of the Seattle Storm, the WNBA team. Gurry said that she expects that the mic flag used for the press conferences for the team will also have the Bing logo on it.
So will this become a future space that teams will sell?
Sports marketer Ben Sturner thinks so.
“Companies, with the banners in the background, have already identified that having their brand at the press conference has value,” said Sturner, CEO and founder of Leverage Agency, a sports sponsorship firm in New York City. “This is just the next generation buy for those companies.”
Sturner said that, if it were appropriate, he might advise one his client’s to buy all the mic flags for many teams, if those teams were willing to sell them on a one-off basis. If there is a concern, Sturner said that selling the mic flag might diminish the value of the sponsor whose logo is on the screen behind the coach or player.
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