Fusion Announces Partership with Ford
The Fort Wayne Fusion has announced that they have entered into a partnership with the Northern Indiana Ford Dealers, who have become presenting sponsors of the first-year Arena Football franchise.
The Fusion will play their games this season at Ford Fusion Field at Memorial Coliseum, and the Ford Fusion brand will appear on all team collateral and marketing items. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Ford will also have significant presence on Fusion game days, most notably the giveaway of a 2007 Ford Fusion at the 2007 season opener on March 31st against the Green Bay Blizzard. The giveaway was initially scheduled for the Fusion's March 16th exhibition game against the Mahoning Valley Thunder, but the Fusion and Ford officials opted to move the promotion to the team's inaugural regular season game.
"We were initially going to do [the giveaway] at our exhibition game, but Ford thought that it would be better if we held it at our home opener," said Fusion General Manager Mike McCaffrey. "It's going to be more of an event, with the team being introduced onto Ford Fusion Field, and the banners over both end zones, and then the car giveaway will top it all off. Plus, this will give Ford dealerships a chance to see what the response is going to be between now and the home opener."
Ford officials were thinking the exact same thing.
"We wanted to make the announcement of this partnership and see what kind of response we get from the traffic through the dealerships over the next three weeks," said Jason Fahlstrom of J. Walter Thompson in Detroit, the marketing firm of the Northern Indiana Ford Dealers. "The Fusion has done a great job so far without us, but we hope to take this to another level here in Fort Wayne by working together."
The partnership is shaping up to be much more than just a one-time promotion.
"As a team, we were committed to giving away a Ford Fusion before this partnership developed, with or without a field-naming rights deal for Ford," said McCaffrey. "This just goes to show how great they've been to work with. What this partnership will allow us to do in terms of co-branding locally in Fort Wayne will take this beyond a simple car raffle and hopefully help the Fusion - both the af2 brand and the Ford brand - become Fort Wayne staples for years to come."
In lieu of running the car giveaway promotion at the exhibition game, the Fusion will be rescheduling another promotion and will give away a pair of trips instead. In separate promotions, the team will be giving away trips to Orlando and Las Vegas, courtesy of Allegiant Air.
McCaffrey sees this as another positive change. "The fans here in Fort Wayne are pretty sports-savvy," he said. "They know how these things work. I'm sure there are some fans who were hoping to drive off in a brand-new Ford Fusion [at the exhibition game], but they can see the big picture and they know what we're trying to accomplish with the local Ford dealerships. They may have to wait a couple more weeks, but they'll also have the chance to win a getaway trip in the meantime."
While the time spent working toward the partnership was productive and exciting, McCaffrey believes that the coming months will prove to be even more fruitful.
"We're anxious to see the response, from the team side the dealer side," he said. "We feel that this is the most sensible - and most obvious - branding partnership in professional sports today. We're excited to see how far this can go."
For more information, or to get your 2007 Fusion season tickets, contact the Fusion office at (260) 484-4095 or visit www.fwfusion.com. The Fort Wayne Fusion kicks off the inaugural 2007 season Saturday, March 31st against the defending American Conference Champion Green Bay Blizzard.
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