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DALLAS -- As part of its new sports marketing program -- the most integrated in the company's history -- 7-Eleven, Inc. has signed multi-year sponsorship agreements with 18 professional sports organizations and venues, including teams within the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA).
In addition to its ongoing sponsorship of Indy Racing League (IRL) Team 7-Eleven Driver Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing, the company also has added events at the Texas Motor Speedway and in St. Petersburg, Fla., to its motor sports portfolio.
"7-Eleven customers are sports fans, and vice versa," said Doug Foster, vice president of marketing for Dallas-based 7-Eleven. "We reach them on their way to and from work and during their lunch hour. Now, we want to join them when they play or enjoy leisure activities. The teams recognize the commonality and benefits as well. Not only will we have visibility at their venues, but we also will ensure that each team has opportunities to reach their fans through our stores."
Customized by market, every sponsorship agreement is built around radio and television advertising, venue signage, coupon distribution at events for proprietary 7-Eleven fresh-food products and beverages, and a 7-Eleven presence on the team web sites.
Promotional activities vary by market and include elements like halftime or game-night contests; special "7-Eleven Day" games; street team sponsorships; store appearances by players, cheerleaders or mascots; pep rallies and tail-gate parties; team charity participation; distribution of exclusive premium prizes and products with 7-Eleven and team logos; and in-store distribution of pocket-size team schedules.
Foster said the sports activities allow the company to better integrate its marketing and public relations initiatives locally, such as advertising or donations to local charitable organizations. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
7-Eleven's sponsorship agreements include:
-- Chicago Bears -- Serve 7-Eleven Exclusive Blend coffee at Soldier field; store appearances by Bear Alumni players like Linebacker Otis Wilson; donation to Bears Care team charity.
-- Dallas Cowboys -- Player and cheerleader store appearances; "Cowboys on Tour"” mobile vehicle at stores.
-- Denver Broncos -- sampling-coupon giveaway tables at games; alumni player and cheerleader store appearances.
-- Philadelphia Eagles -- Pep rallies at stores with cheerleaders, mascot and alumni appearances; giveaways for three VIP tailgate parties; game ticket giveaways.
-- Washington Redskins -- Training camp participation; "tailgate parties" at stores; "Watch & Win" in-store promotion.
-- New England Patriots -- 7-Eleven in-game activities for all home games.
-- Seattle Seahawks -- Sponsorship of "Tee Hawk of the Week," in which winners will receive a customized "12" jersey and a 7-Eleven Tee Hawk of the Week football.
-- Oakland Raiders -- Designated "7-Eleven Fan Zone" seating section; two "7-Eleven" days of game sponsorship; title sponsor of the Oakland Raiders weekly show, Raiders Report.
-- Dallas Mavericks -- 7-Eleven Lucky Dice Roll at half- or quarter-time with winners receiving 7-Eleven products; title sponsor of Mavs' Street Team; and store appearances.
-- Chicago Bulls -- 7-Eleven Lucky Dice Roll; distribution of Bulls' pocket-size schedules.
-- Miami Heat -- Sponsor of Miami Heat Family Festival; presenting sponsor of Miami Heat Xtreme Team; Interactive 7-Eleven fan event.
-- Los Angeles Lakers -- Distribution of Lakers' pocket schedules; halftime contests; 7-Eleven Night at the Lakers.
-- New York Yankees -- Consumer Sweepstakes Program; 7-Eleven Promotional Day at Yankee Stadium.
-- Chicago White Sox -- 7:11 p.m. start time for home games; 7-Eleven Fireworks Night; donation to White Sox Charities.
-- Chicago Cubs -- "Step Up To Home Plate" event at Sunday home games; "Score 7 or 11 & Win" promotion in which fans win prize if Cubs score either 7 or 11 runs during home games; 7-Eleven Day at Wrigley Field; $100 donation to Cubs Care Charity for every double a Cubs player hits during a home game; pocket calendar giveaways.
"I believe we've had a very successful 'draft' for our customers by signing with these top teams in America, and can look forward to continuing to win our customers' loyalty in the years to come," Foster said in a company news release.
"Our research shows that one of the top ways our core customers spend their leisure time is attending or watching sports events," he continued. "I can't think of a better way to reach them than to support their hometown team and favorite past-time. These local sports sponsorships reflect 7-Eleven's Retailer Initiative strategy that focuses on merchandising and developing new fresh foods to meet taste preferences of various regions of the country where we have stores."
Through these sponsorships, 7-Eleven also can get coupons into the hands of hungry and thirsty fans, redeemable for free products like its made-fresh-and-delivered-daily deli sandwiches, proprietary coffee, cappuccino and hot chocolate beverages.
Additionally, 7-Eleven said it will continue its relationship with AGR as the primary sponsor for the entry driven by 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan. 7-Eleven has sponsored the No. 11 driver for the past four IRL seasons.
Beyond the team 7-Eleven sponsorship, the chain signed a multi-year agreement in 2006 to be the "Official Convenience Store" of the Texas Motor Speedway, and headline sponsor of last November's qualifying day events leading up to the Busch Series and Nextel Chase weekend races. In Florida, 7-Eleven has signed an agreement to be a sponsor of the Honda Grand Prix race in late March on the streets of St. Petersburg.
The company again will be involved with extreme sports as a media sponsor when the X Games competition air on ABC Network in 2007 through 2009.
"We invite our suppliers and business partners to consider working with us to provide even more value for consumers through these kinds of promotions," Foster said. "7-Eleven is in a unique position to be there 24/7 when the customer wants a cold beverage or a great-tasting snack when rooting for their hometown team -- whether at the ballpark, stadium, arena or in the comfort of their own home."
As the largest chain in the convenience retailing industry, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 7,200 7-Eleven stores in North America.