How Gallagher Is Growing Its Sports Portfolio in a Big Way

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Gallagher - Sports - Business

Sports fans in the United States and Europe may not immediately be familiar with the name of Gallagher. That will most likely change in the near future, though, after the 91-year-old insurance brokerage and risk management services firm has been adding some big sports sponsorships to its repertoire since the team started working with IndyCar racers back in 2016.

Casual observers may be asking why a company would wait almost a century after its inception in 1927 to get into this side of the business.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Chief Marketing Officer Chris Mead explained that this decision had a lot to do with the company’s rapid growth, both domestically and globally with Gallagher now working in 33 countries around the world. Prior to a few years ago, the company did not have a national marketing infrastructure to justify such partnerships.

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“The most important thing about a sponsorship or partnership is that you’re able to amplify it and get new customers from it,” Mead stated. “For a while, we didn’t have that infrastructure in place yet. We’ve gotten it into place now, and the timing was really good for us.”

In the past year, Gallagher has inked two very notable deals. The first includes Gallagher becoming the new title sponsor of Premiership Rugby with various other branding opportunities attached to the deal. Gallagher is also now the official insurance broker of the league. This sponsorship was an easy sell for Gallagher’s leadership team based on the sport’s global appeal and the culture of respect the rugby community prides itself on. Rugby’s quickly growing popularity in the United States didn’t hurt the appeal either.

“We look for opportunities that are reflective of our culture and who we are as a company in terms of hard work and doing the right thing. If you take a look at rugby and the global footprint, along with the fact that it is one of the fastest-growing sports domestically from a U.S. perspective, it makes sense. It’s also just the way the sport is played very competitively with a true appreciation of honor and community.”

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The folks at Gallagher take an active role in participating in their local community too. This is why the Chicago-based company also felt compelled to initiate a partnership with a world-class organization in its own backyard: the Chicago Cubs.

In early 2018, the two parties signed a multi-year partnership that made Gallagher the official insurance broker, benefits and risk management service partner of the Cubs. Gallagher also receives exclusive marketing and sponsorship rights to the Ricketts family real estate properties, namely Wrigley Field.

“Tom Ricketts (chairman of the Chicago Cubs), the way that they run their business, the way that their players play the game and the way that they give back to the community made that partnership very appealing,” according to Mead. “It’s a one-for-one of who Gallagher is and how we operate. We’ve gotten very close to the ownership and spent time with people in the front office, who also spend a lot of time in our community. We really feel like it’s a community play for us as well.”

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In looking at Mead and Gallagher’s leadership, it is very clear that their partnership strategy extends beyond simply increasing brand exposure and garnering new customers. They want to work with brands that care about making the world a little bit better through sport.

“It’s not just about baseball and rugby, but it’s also the commitment of both the clubs and Premiership Rugby to the community outside the sport itself. They are making it a better place to live and improving the community in the United Kingdom and wherever rugby is played.”

With these partnerships, as well as Gallagher’s ventures into auto racing already going swimmingly, the brand is very open to continuing to expand its sports portfolio should the right opportunities arise.

“It’s a real simple formula for us,” Mead said. “If we see an opportunity that maps to our culture and what we stand for as a business, if it’s tied to a community that’s important to us, we’re open to it. There also has to be a direct business opportunity. The one common thing that all these sponsorships have is that they need our services and expertise in proper insurance placement and risk management. We’re looking at opportunities as they come up, and if it makes sense for Gallagher, we’ll do them.”