Building a Roster of Strategic Corporate Partners

By Kimberly Beaudin
  • Nov 27, 2022

The first impression of the College Football Hall of Fame is likely that of a national attraction, known for welcoming tourists and passionate fans alike. While that’s true – we pride ourselves on offering an immersive, interactive and engaging experience for our guests – behind the scenes we are so much more. The College Football Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization that depends greatly on the generous support of our impressive roster of corporate partners.  

Today, the Hall of Fame has strategic partnerships with more than a dozen elite brands. We are diligent in nurturing our existing relationships while continuously fostering new ones to so that we are able to fulfill our mission and keep the experience at the highest level.  

When seeking to associate our brand with that of a new partner, we believe the most important factor is the alignment of vision, values and mission. From there we must develop an understanding of their goals so we can build an integrated and engaging platform that delivers on their objectives and provides value to the Hall of Fame guest experience. We believe our partnerships go far beyond just financial transactions and strive to create lasting mutually beneficial relationships. 

Like any healthy, productive relationship, each partner brings unique strengths to the table. For the Hall, our corporate partnerships provide increased exposure to new audiences including the sponsor’s customers, employees and other stakeholders resulting in greater brand awareness and future ticket purchases. The association with a partner’s brand equity is as important as the financial contribution. In return, we provide our partners alignment with the excellence associated with the Hall of Fame as well as physical and programmatic assets that amplify our sponsors’ brand message. Our partners receive the intellectual property rights to use our marks and name in their own marketing materials as well.  

While every corporate partnership is governed by an official agreement, our entire team strives to overdeliver at every possible turn. The relationship is critical, and we want our partners to know how much they are appreciated. We actively seek new ways to engage our partners and provide added value knowing that renewing a partnership is usually a much easier path than trying to find a new one.  

However, there are times when a new opportunity is identified we have to make a decision between enhancing an existing partnership or pursuing a new one in a different category. In those instances, we will always present the idea to our current partner first with the understanding that additional investment is required, although at a discounted rate. If they pass, we are free to pursue new partnership opportunities. This approach allows us to show commitment to our existing sponsors without sacrificing new revenue for the long-term sustainability of the Hall.  

Bottom line, the work of strengthening existing relationships and seeking new partners is never done. These partnerships require the time, effort and creativity of the entire organization, but the value clearly speaks for itself and ensures our success as a non-profit national destination.