The Allstate Sponsorship: Interview with Allstate Senior Marketing Manager Karen Uhler

As we discussed in mid-February, the announcement that Allstate has signed a four year deal as the official insurance sponsor of MLS was significant for a league that was missing sponsors in a number of major categories.  Like most of the league’s similar deals, Allstate is not simply buying into Major League Soccer.  By buying in with  SUM, Allstate is also gaining a relationship with USMNT, USWNT and renewing a relationship with the Mexican National Team.  Allstate also will have  an exclusive relationship with MLS Cup and the AT&T All Star game.   As part of its relationship with SUM, Allstate will sponsor a series of Hispanic themed events that include the Sueno MLS program.

Karen Uhler is Senior Marketing Manager for Allstate.  She was kind enough to take a few questions from about Allstate’s relationship with MLS, SUM and FMF.  Please see the transcript below.  Thanks to Ms. Uhler.  Allstate has a prior standing relationship with the Mexican soccer federation.  Why is now the time to align yourself with MLS, SUM and the US National Team properties?

Karen Uhler:  Expanding our soccer presence as the Official Insurance Sponsor of MLS, U.S. Soccer and the Mexican National Team enables us to share our passion for this exciting and popular sport.  The soccer fan base in the U.S. is at 90 million strong and those numbers continue to grow.  This demographic is an important consumer target for Allstate and we are excited about developing fun and creative programs to bring fans even closer to the sport.  Our new soccer sponsorships will also provide Allstate with an excellent platform to continue to communicate our key brand message of protection, which aligns very well with the sport.
FB: What is it about the MLS fan demographic that makes it a good fit for Allstate?  Did the recent Turnkey Sports Survey showing MLS fans’ awareness of league sponsors factor into your decision to align with the league?
KU: The MLS fan base is passionate and growing.  At Allstate, we want to cast a wide net and reach as many soccer fans in America as we can with messages about our brand and the new MLS sponsorship will help us do that.  The Turnkey Sports Survey did not factor into Allstate’s decision to sponsor MLS.

FB: A number of the programs mentioned in the press release involve the league’s Hispanic fans including Sueno and Futbolito.  How will these programs promote Allstate?

KU: For the past four years, Allstate’s Mexican National Team sponsorship has been an integral piece of our Hispanic marketing strategy and we are excited to renew our partnership for another four years.  Now with the MLS sponsorship Allstate has additional avenues to reach the Hispanic consumer.  For example, Allstate will support Hispanic athletes with dreams of playing in MLS through Sueno MLS, a free tryout program in search of the best undiscovered talent in the U.S.  Specific activation details around the grassroots and Hispanic-focused programs such as Sueno MLS, Socio MLS and MLS Futbolito are still in the works, but they will be a strong priority for Allstate as part of our overarching soccer platform.

FB: How will Allstate activate around MLS and US Soccer?  Should fans expect to see a significant media buy as part of these new relationships?

KU: As part of Allstate’s MLS sponsorship, we will look to engage consumers with creative programs around the league’s two largest game properties, the MLS All-Star Game and the MLS Cup.  Allstate is also planning to activate around select U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team games in 2011.  From a creative standpoint, our plans are still very much in development, but soccer fans should expect to see a strong presence from Allstate on television, online and on the ground at these events.