UW Partner Alaska Airlines’ In-Airport & On-Plane Huskies Pac-12 Championship Game Activation

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When the Huskies took on Colorado in early December’s 2016 Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the official airline of the University Of Washington’s Huskies football team leveraged the partnership in its departure lounges and on its planes heading to the host city in California.


On 1 December the airline kicked off its big game leverage programme with some pre-match, at-airport activation,



which was followed-up by on-plane ‘purple and gold’ team-colour bunting in the cabin.



At the heart of the activation was an in-flight surprise ticket giveaway (including food, drink and VIP treatment in the Alaska Air stadium box).





The activity was also promoted on the UW team’s own social channels,



and a second leverage phase ran the following day on 2 December when the airline ran a further clue-based, treasure-hunt style ‘ticket giveaway’.





Using the hastags #WiththeDawg and #GoHuskies and #Pac12FCG, the pre-match and game day activation was amplified socially across the airline’s channels from Twitter




and Facebook, as well as via Instagram Stories.





As Washington defeated Colorado on 2 December to become conference champions, the Huskies now move on to the national College Playoff semi-finals for the first time where it will take on top-seeded Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on 31 December in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.


Alaska Air must surely be planning some further activation fun for that game too?


The relationship between UW and the Seattle-based airline dates back to 2011 when an annual $700,000, five-year partnership was signed to rebrand the college’s Hec Edmundson Pavilion basketball arena (a venue that had previously been named Bank of America Arena).


Part of that deal saw UW also create an on-campus ‘Athletic Village presented by Alaska Airlines’ (which includes all the university’s athletic facilities around the football stadium) and to provide Alaska Airlines with a branding presence on UW’s Tacoma and Bothell campuses.


Then the partnership was further solidified in September 2015 when the University of Washington and Alaska Airlines announced a partnership that saw the airline sign a naming-rights deal for the college team’s stadium (the biggest stadium in the northwest) – now known as Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.


This latter sponsorship is reported to be worth $41m over 10 years: making it the largest deal of its kind in US college sports.


Interestingly, more than 50% of the partnership rights fee has been pre-committed directly for student-athlete scholarships and welfare.


The deal more than doubles the previous biggest commercial partnership college sports deal – the 30-year, $60m tie-up between the University Of Illinois and State Farm Insurance (which included naming rights to for the Illinois basketball arena.


While the 2013 University of California 15-year, $18m deal with video game outfit Kabam and the $9m, 15-year 2015 deal signed by Boise State to rename its football venue Albertsons Stadium are amoung the other recent biggest commercial sponsorships in US college sports.


‘We’re proud to expand our relationship with our hometown airline through an agreement that will benefit students on and off the field,’ commented UW interim president Ana Mari Cauce at the time thee deal was signed.


‘We have an active, engaged community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and fans, and it’s their energy and passion for our university that made this expanded partnership possible.’


The airline is no stranger to football sponsorship activation.


Indeed, on the pro side of the game, Alaska Airlines is also simultaneously running a ‘Fantasy Bonus Miles’ campaign with Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.



Wilson is an Alaska Air athlete ambassador who fairly frequently fronts ads and marketing initiatives for the airline.





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