It’s not simply Taylor Swift: Banks sponsor extra live shows and festivals

Music festivals provide alternatives for sponsors to spotlight their manufacturers over the course of a number of days. In the final two years, financial institution sponsorships of the occasions have surged by 165%, in accordance with a brand new report.

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The banking business is directing extra of its sponsorship {dollars} to music festivals and live performance venues in an effort to draw youthful shoppers with disposable revenue.

About 39% of the business’s complete sponsorship portfolio is now devoted to music-related occasions and properties, up from 25% in 2021, in accordance with a report from SponsorUnited, an information supplier for the sports activities and leisure industries. Over the previous two years, financial institution sponsorships of music festivals surged by 165%, whereas financial institution sponsorship of live performance venues rose by 94%, the report stated.

That speedy progress is in distinction with the traits in main skilled sports activities leagues. Bank sponsorships in professional sports activities grew by simply 5% throughout the identical timeframe, the report stated.

While banks proceed to pour huge quantities of cash into sports-related offers, there’s been a “rapid shift” into the music competition house, stated Bob Lynch, SponsorUnited’s founder and CEO. 

One cause: Music festivals typically run for a number of days, which signifies that banks have numerous time and quite a few methods to interact with current and potential clients, he stated.

“It’s not a three-hour game,” Lynch stated in an interview. “It’s a three-day event, and it allows brands to do so much more on site. It’s a lot different from the stick-and-ball space.”

The banking business’s sponsorship of music-related occasions is not new. Banks have been slapping their names and logos on live performance levels, symphonies and chamber music occasions for years. But lately, the sponsorship offers for music festivals and live performance venues are increasing to incorporate a bundle of promoting and branding methods.

The choices embody reductions on purchases in the course of the occasion, bank-branded ATMs, Wi-Fi sponsorships and tented VIP hospitality websites on competition grounds for financial institution clients — normally with an eye fixed towards attracting youthful clients who might grow to be lifelong shoppers.

Banks are prioritizing music festivals and live performance venues “due to the singular opportunity these platforms offer to craft unique, expansive experiences,” the report stated.

And in contrast to some extra conventional occasions, attendees of music festivals have “notable disposable income” that “distinguishes them as valuable prospects in the competitive banking landscape.”

Citigroup has been probably the most lively sponsors of music and leisure occasions, supporting quite a lot of platforms each domestically and nationally. The megabank is the longtime sponsor of the “Today” present’s summer time live performance collection and the Global Citizen Festival in its headquarters metropolis of New York.

Capital One Financial can be closely lively within the music house. The McLean, Virginia, firm is returning for the sixth 12 months as a companion for the iHeart Radio Music Festival, which is being held this weekend in Las Vegas. It can be the financial institution sponsor for City Parks Foundation SummerStage in New York City.

In August, Royal Bank of Canada introduced a deal to be the “official financial services partner” and an “official ticket access partner” of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour in terms of Toronto for six exhibits in November 2024. Members of RBC’s Avion rewards program had the prospect to purchase as much as 4 tickets throughout a particular entry interval final month.

Banks are doubtless interested in the “coolness” of being related to music festivals, stated Josh Mabus, president and chief artistic officer at Mabus Agency, a financial institution advertising agency in Tupelo, Mississippi.

But he warned that the extra the business focuses on music-related occasions, the tougher it turns into for banks to distinguish themselves from different banks utilizing the identical technique.

“Banks are creatures of habit, and they follow one another,” stated Mabus, whose company works with banks throughout the nation. “If they’re all following each other, it’s easy to fall off the cliff.”

One wrinkle within the SponsorUnited report, which was primarily based on an evaluation of manufacturers, music-related belongings and social media posts between January 2021 by way of August 2023: Unlike conventional banks, fintechs and online-only banks are tending to keep away from music festivals, at the very least for now.

Instead, these firms are placing their sponsorship {dollars} into skilled sports activities leagues just like the National Basketball Association.

That technique permits firms to introduce their manufacturers to the “massive social media audiences” that comply with the NBA, the National Football League and different main sports activities leagues, Lynch stated. They additionally get “general broadcast exposure” that might result in establishing a presence at different main occasions, such because the Super Bowl.

“It’s really hard to do that in the festival space,” Lynch stated.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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