As the wait to find out if Justify will be the next to complete the Triple Crown dwindles, Wheels Up is joining the fun.
While the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals are going on with some of clients participating, it is also a big time for horse racing. This weekend is the Belmont Stakes and we have a chance at seeing the Triple Crown. Justify has won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness despite super muddy conditions.
Typically, there are not as many sponsorship opportunities in sports like horse racing because there are less on-site signage opportunities. Additionally, the Kentucky Derby and other major horse races are prestigious and heavy on tradition which limits opportunities.
Wheels Up, a private plane company, has decided to commit to sponsoring in the Belmont Stakes nonetheless. Specifically, they will be sponsoring Justify and the jockey of the horse. Wheels Up will be the exclusive brand on both the horse and the jockey, making this even more valuable.
Justify will also have the most attention of any horse which provides more eyes for Wheels Up. The plane company also sponsored the last horse to win the Triple Crown, American Pharoah, and has an endorsement deal with the greatest quarterback of all-time, Tom Brady.
Essentially, this deal is consistent with the type of marketing and messaging Wheels Up wants to do; they are for the best and will be sponsored by the best. If Justify is able to win the Triple Crown, it will be interesting to see what Wheels Up could do with their superstar sponsor.
1. This latest sponsorship is congruent with Wheels Up's strategy and should help with their messaging to consumers that they are a luxury brand.
2. While the actual race itself is just a couple minutes, the pre-race and post-race coverage are lengthy and could prove very valuable to Wheels up.
3. Due to only sponsoring the most successful athletes/sports performers, it limits Wheels Up's sponsorship opportunities, but makes it more effective when they do arise.
4. Remember your sponsorships do not have to be with traditional companies or traditional sports. In some aspects, you may want a luxury company that fits a niche market like in golf or horse racing. There are opportunities for everyone.
Check out some pictures below.
Written by: James Campbell
James Campbell is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan with his B.A. in Sport Management. Throughout his time at Michigan, he has worked with Detroit City FC, MiLife Sport & Social Club, and USA Hockey. - @Jimmy10Campbell