The asset manager has signed on as the first-ever jersey sponsor for Sporting Club'sSporting Kansas City as part of a multi-year agreement announced at the 2013 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday. The Overland Park, Kan.-based mutual fund shop becomes the presenting jersey partner of Sporting Kansas City and official investment management partner of Sporting Club.
Ivy discusses the reasons behind the partnership in a memo, outlined below:
Questions and answers: Ivy Funds and Sporting KC
Ivy Funds is pleased to partner with Sporting KC, a leading, Kansas City-based franchise in a growing league in the world’s most popular sport. Sporting KC is a model franchise on and off the field and will be an exceptional partner in helping us grow the Ivy Funds brand.
Sporting KC has captured the imagination of the Kansas City region, much as the MLS is capturing ever- growing fan support for professional soccer in the U.S. We look forward to growing with Sporting KC and the MLS for years to come.
What inspired the Ivy Funds partnership with Sporting KC?
Like Sporting KC, Ivy Funds is a Kansas City-based organization with national and some international reach. Visibly attaching ourselves to this franchise, to the MLS and the world’s most popular sport is an exciting way for us to extend the Ivy Funds brand.
We know Sporting KC’s ownership and management and believe them to be extremely capable and forward-looking business people. We also are confident that the MLS will continue its growth trajectory and that it will be the vessel for the ongoing growth of soccer as a professional sport in the U.S.
Why partner this way with Sporting KC, rather than the KC Royals or KC Chiefs?
Our sports partnerships are not mutually exclusive propositions. We have partnered with the Royals and expect to continue to do so. We have spoken frequently with the Chiefs and continue to do so. We respect both of those organizations very much. Sporting KC is the right fit at the right time. This provides the ability to partner with a leading, innovative franchise in a thriving league in the world’s most popular sport. And, the opportunity for attaching our name so visibly to a team exists only in this sport
Why do you believe strongly in the sport of soccer?
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport with an extensive fan base and, through MLS, has taken hold as a pro sport in the U.S. The demographics of soccer fans are very attractive, and we think its popularity at all levels – amateur and professional, participant and spectator – will continue to grow in the years ahead.
How do you think fans will react to this partnership?
We hope they react well to a large, local company making so substantial a commitment to Sporting KC. This is great testimony to Sporting’s growth, staying power and important place in our community. We have worked hard, also, to present a visual logo that is classy and in keeping with Sporting’s image as a first-class organization. We too are rabid fans and want to be certain that what we do only enhances Sporting’s brand.
Here is the press release:
Company Press Release
Sporting KC introduces Ivy Funds as club’s first-ever jersey sponsor
Sporting Club partners with KC-based asset management firm in landmark multi-year agreement as Sporting KC’s presenting jersey sponsor
(January 17, 2013) – Sporting Club unveiled Ivy Funds as the first-ever jersey sponsor for Sporting Kansas City as part of a multi-year agreement announced at the 2013 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday. Headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., Ivy Funds becomes the presenting jersey partner of Sporting Kansas City and official investment management partner of Sporting Club.
The Ivy Funds logo will be prominently displayed on the front of all team jerseys at the start of the 2013 MLS season, including Sporting Kansas City’s new 2013 home uniform that will launch on Feb. 27. Fans may now access a special pre-sale for home and away jerseys at shop.sportingkc.com to be among the first to order the team’s newest gear.
“They offer us everything we wanted, with the key attribute being local,” said Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman. “Local was always the thing that was going to be most important to us in a jersey sponsor and then innovation. Ivy Funds has proven that they’re an innovator in their field. We wanted something that connected to our community in a large way and that’s exactly what this relationship is going to allow us to do.”
The partnership aligns two companies based in Kansas City that have brands and business models that are national in scope. The multi-faceted and fully integrated corporate sponsorship also provides Ivy Funds with naming rights to the Executive Suite level at Sporting Park, entertainment at the stadium for clients and employees, as well as engagement opportunities with Sporting KC players for charitable efforts and appearances.
“Sporting Club is an exemplary franchise on and off the field, and we look forward to growing with them as soccer rapidly cements its place among professional sports in the United States, as it already has globally,” said Thomas Butch, CEO and President of Ivy Funds Distributor, Inc. “With its visionary management, world-class venue and talented, accessible players and coaches, Sporting Kansas City provides a great partner to further extend the Ivy Funds brand throughout the United States and abroad. We look forward to a broad-based, constructive partnership.”
Ivy Funds Distributor, Inc. became an affiliate of Kansas City-based Waddell & Reed in 2003 and has grown to be one of the fastest growing mutual fund families in the country over the last 10 years. Ivy Funds offers a broad mutual fund lineup and has ranked among the top performing fund families over a five-year period in Barron’s “Best Mutual Fund Families” each of the last two years.
Ivy Funds’ parent Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc., is a publicly traded investment management and financial planning company (NYSE:WDR). Originally founded in Kansas City in 1937, Waddell & Reed had $95 billion in assets under management at Sept. 30, 2012.
“It is gratifying that Ivy Funds’ growth and recognition in the marketplace has enabled so ambitious a partnership with so outstanding a partner,” said Henry J. Herrmann, Chairman and CEO of Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc., Ivy Funds’ parent company, which has been based in Kansas City since its origin in 1937. “We believe our relationship with Sporting Club will enhance the already strong brand recognition of Ivy Funds and Waddell & Reed among all of our stakeholders.”
Ivy Funds’ sports sponsorship presence has been showcased at Sporting Park and Kauffman Stadium, and the company also serves as the lead sponsor of the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon, with Ivy Funds since 2005.
Video and photos from Thursday’s announcement will be made available via FTP for media use. Please follow the instructions below: