You might say that attendees of the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship weekend in Los Angeles were in good hands. Since the inception of the ESPN-backed tournament nine years ago, Allstate has served as title sponsor of the weekend’s biggest events—Party at the Playoff and the Championship Tailgate. So it’s no wonder that between the CFP, 15-plus years of activating sponsorship programs and a target customer that indexes high with the sport, the brand is on a mission to prove that “Allstate and college football are synonymous.”
Allstate Party at the Playoff, held this year Jan. 7 at The Majestic in downtown L.A., once again kicked off the championship weekend in style with a high-profile VIP gathering. Attendees arrived for photos on the blue carpet before entering the venue. Inside, they were transported into a Golden-Age-of-Hollywood-inspired scene with a black and gold color scheme, elegant lamps and book installations that elicited a library vibe and an Allstate-branded photo wall displaying black and white images of past championship games. Hints of Allstate-blue lighting also peppered the footprint.
Throughout the evening, attendees could grab drinks at a specialty cocktail bar, engage in various partner activations, like a photo op with the CFP National Championship trophy, and catch performances by the featured dj for the L.A. Kings and Dodgers, DJ MissNINJA, as well as Grammy-nominated artist Mike Posner.
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For Allstate, sponsoring Party at the Playoff isn’t just a brand visibility play; it’s also a networking strategy. In addition to the athletes and celebrities in attendance were athletic directors, administrators, and sponsorship and media executives with whom Allstate worked to strengthen its partnerships via a dedicated VIP area within the venue.
“Party at the Playoff allows us to reinforce our relationship with college football and build influence with key constituents and leaders in the industry,” says Ashley Kelly, integrated marketing communications-sponsorship at Allstate. “And it allows us to demonstrate in a unique contextual environment that Allstate and college football are synonymous. So it was a fun, modern way for our brand to show up among the constituents that we should be interacting with in that space.”
If Party at the Playoff was the go-to VIP affair of the weekend, the Allstate Championship Tailgate held on game day was the people’s event—open to anyone with tickets to the championship game. Held Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium, the tailgate included games, concessions, live ESPN broadcasts, appearances by each team’s marching band and performances by Kelsea Ballerini and Tiera Kennedy. And over in the sponsorship activation zone, Allstate raised the nets to offer fans a shot at kicking a field goal, while a mobile version of the game was also available throughout the weekend.
For Kelly, Allstate’s ownership of the college football sponsorship space is not only a way to drive brand consideration among consumers, but a boost for its bottom line.
“Football has allowed us to create a strong vertical integration with our programming, including our partnerships across the CFP, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, 100-plus schools, our conference championships and kickoff and bowl games, along with spokespeople who we’ve partnered with and our Allstate AFCA Good Works Team,” she says. “So we’re really able to develop a national business-driving activation program with both a top-down and bottom-up impact.”
Now that’s a blitz. Agency: 15|40 Productions.
Photo credit: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for ESPN and CFP