CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) PNC Bank has partnered with a professional sports league for the first time by becoming NASCAR’s official bank and official wealth management company.
PNC will leverage its partnership with NASCAR to expand its footprint across the country and U.S. military bases abroad. The deal announced Friday gives PNC access at NASCAR races and the opportunity to offer its services to the industry.
In bringing corporate clients to NASCAR races, PNC believes it will have a unique marketing experience to offer. It’s one of the same reasons the company last month backed IndyCar driver Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing.
PNC signed on as Dixon’s primary sponsor, but executive vice president of corporate banking Terry Begley said it is coincidental to its agreement with NASCAR.
”Each of these sponsorships we look at independently and in this case, NASCAR is a great brand and a national platform, and we are trying to grow our bank nationally,” Begley said. ”We have sponsorships with many other sports, teams within the leagues around the country, but when we looked at it, NASCAR, as an entity across the country, it was about picking a partner that could help us strategically grow and cultivate new customers and clients.”
Begley said PNC will target markets where NASCAR races are held and capitalize on the access it will have to drivers and behind-the-scenes action while entertaining clients. PNC is targeting growth across the country, even in markets where it does not have a retail branch presence. PNC last year said it was forming a national digital retail strategy.
Bank of America had previously been the official bank of NASCAR, but when it exited that role NASCAR broke up all the categories that BOA had controlled. Segmenting the category has allowed NASCAR to form partnerships with Credit One, Click n’ Close and now PNC Bank, all as official partners. Credit One has also partnered with Ganassi as a sponsor for Kyle Larson, while Click n’ Close teamed with Bubba Wallace for his second-place finish in the Daytona 500.
”We started to parse it out and now we are rounding out the portfolio with PNC Bank,” NASCAR chief sales officer Steve Phelps said. ”It took a little time to get these three different partners, but I think importantly, all three partners are going to activate significantly.”
Phelps noted PNC will reach fans in a non-traditional way and potentially help grow the base.
”We always want to be exposed, either nurturing the fans that we have who may bank with PNC Bank, or with those who are their customers who are not fans. They will now have opportunities to come sample NASCAR,” Phelps said. ”And from a sponsorship standpoint, it’s a positive thing for us as an entity and the sport more broadly to make sure we are financially viable and healthy.”
PNC will operate as NASCAR’s financial institution beginning immediately.
Phelps also said NASCAR was ”humbled and honored” that PNC chose the series as its first sports league to launch an official banking partnership.
”It shows we are a great place for them to talk about their association with NASCAR because it’s a national footprint,” Phelps said. ”For us to be their first national play is a testament to the sport and reinforces that we are the place to do business, and the reason we are the place to do business is because our fans support brands and services that support the sport they love. That’s our relative difference to every sports property out there.”
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