Yesterday evening while having dinner I turned on the Fiesta Bowl which was being played about an hour from our house. My wife asked me if Tostitos was still sponsoring it and was surprised to see that the bowl is now sponsored by Playstation complete with the Playstation logo at the center of the field.
Naturally commercials for games followed as we enjoyed seeing the one for Horizon: Zero Dawn as part of the broadcast.
Corporate sponsorship of sporting events is nothing new, Microsoft even has a deal with the MLS Campion Seattle Sounders but title sponsorship of a major bowl is a big difference from having your name on a jersey.
So why Sony would make this move or not use their own name instead of Playstation? It all comes down to branding. The Playstation 4 has been a huge success worldwide and Sony has used this to make the Playstation profile even larger. With viewership largely determined by the teams playing, the ratings can be as low as 7 million and as high as 18 million for the game. This is also not counting the numerous highlights on sports stations, the parade, and commercials where the logo is branded.
It also gives Sony a forum to broadcast commercials for their pending games and products. Yes they can and do buy ads on other games and venues, but they have their own outlet now where they can debut commercials before releasing them to the other outlets.
Sony is showing off their success by saying that the Playstation line is such a success we can spend millions for years with an above the board title sponsorship of a bowl, but are also clever enough to see the benefits that come with this type of branding. One has to wonder why Microsoft and Nintendo have not done this yet and in light of the move made by Sony, will they look to make the leap into sports sponsorship soon as after all; Nintendo does still own a piece of the Seattle Mariners.