In May of 2008, Volkswagen signed on as an official "jersey sponsor" of DC United as well as the official automobile partner of the MLS. In total, the company is paying approximately $4.5MM annually ($3.1-3.7MM team/$1-$2MM league), but they are making sure that they receive every penny's worth of their partnership investments.
Volkswagen has done an incredible job "branding" the fan experience at DC United home games played at RFK Stadium in a non-intrisuive manner. I have added a Volkswagen Activation Gallery, detailing some of the automobile manufacturer's on-site branding tactics, which include:
- Retro-VW Clock Signage (mirrors a speedometer - this is innovative and unique asset - my favorite on-site!)
- Volkswagen Garage - an interactive display on-site at the playing level
- Provides significant in-venue visibility and serves as an excellent way for consumers to interact with the product
- Serves as a hospitality area and vehicle showroom with space for 1,000 visitors
- Offers a brand experience featuring soccer-based car games, t-shirt screen printing, branded merchandise, hammocks, Fifa XBox 260 gaming stations, and Adirondack chairs for relaxing
- Free parking for the first fifty (50) Volkswagen drivers on-site in Lot 4
- VW-sponsored halftime entertainment
- Uniform Branding (team, goalie, mascot, children)
- Product display in-venue and out-of-venue
- Mid-field Display Signage
- Large Crowd-Surfing VW Jersey
- Branded Premium Items (VW Bags, Branded Foam Fingers)
- Field Boards and a Variety of Stadium Signage
- Mini VW Go-Kart Vehicles for Children to Sit In On-Site
- Free VW Logo Screenprint for Outdated Team Jerseys On-Site
- Sponsor of DC United's Soccer Celebration Event
With it's MLS partnership, Volkswagen receives rights to utilize league and collective team marks and the logos and marketing assets at the MLS All-Star Game and the MLS Cup.
Volkswagen's variety of branding techniques will ensure that every consumer will leave RFK Stadium knowing that it is a major supporter of the DC united soccer club, a feat that all corporate partners look to achieve. Volkswagen's on-site branding should serve as a benchmark for all venue naming rights/jersey sponsorship rightsholders looking to maximize their partnership agreements.