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ITsavvy Grows Sponsorship Portfolio with Deal with Stewart-Haas Racing

ITsavvy will be the primary sponsor on Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford for the second time during the November 9-11 race weekend at ISM Raceway.

Kraig Doremus



ITsavvy - NASCAR

New Stewart-Haas Racing partner ITsavvy’s CEO and founder Mike Theriault may not be familiar with the lyric by Jay-Z, “No one on the corner has swagger like us,” but swagger is just how he described SHR driver Clint Bowyer and his company.

As the business-to-business company is set to be the primary sponsor on Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford for the second time this season at ISM Raceway (Nov. 9-11), could it be a match made in heaven?

“Clint has that edge about him that we like. It kind of fits who we are,” said Theriault, the leader of the company with $8 billion in inventory and 46 distribution centers across the United States. “There are big competitors in our space. We have to have some swagger and confidence as we talk with companies. Clint has that engaging personality and swagger.”

SEE MORE: Toyota’s NASCAR Involvement Drives Brand’s Market Growth

The company’s relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing actually began earlier this year when its colors were featured on his No. 14 SHR Ford at Richmond. The ITsavvy color scheme and logo will again adorn Bowyer’s machine at ISM Raceway on Nov. 11.

Stewart-Haas Racing is not the first partner that ITsavvy and Theriault have developed a relationship with, but the move to NASCAR has been a good, albeit unique, one for the IT company.

“A friend of a friend said they knew some people over at SHR, and they thought it would be a good fit for our company,” said Theriault, who started the company in 2004. “I was open to it and looked outside the box for different ideas to develop our business. He made the introduction and we had a phone call and both sides saw the opportunity and capitalized on it.”

For ITsavvy, being a business-to-business company where speed and attention are critical aspects just as they are in NASCAR, a partnership with SHR seems like the perfect fit. Not only does ITsavvy allow Stewart-Haas to maximize its performance in the IT space during the hustle and bustle of a 36-week schedule at tracks across the country, but it gives ITsavvy another strong testimony as it enters into a new sport.

WATCH: Inside Toyota’s Massive Daytona Activation

Although the deal with SHR happened in 2018, just how did ITsavvy go from its start in 2004 to being one of the fastest growing resources for Integrated IT products and technology solutions 14 years later?

Theriault began from scratch and focused on three things: building relationships, offering the right products for the best solution, and providing a high level of service.

“In 1979, I started my business and sold it to a competitor, before leaving there and starting ITsavvy in 2004,” Theriault said. “In our business it all comes down to relationships and offering the right products for the best solution, providing a high level of service and getting those clients to the point where you become their trusted advisor. You’re becoming a one-on-one expert for them in the IT space. We’ve developed 1,000s of clients. We have offices in 10 cities in the United States. It’s a roll-up-your-sleeves and get-it-done-type of business.”

By adopting that great attitude, the sales personnel are at the forefront of ITsavvy’s operations.

“Our client executives are our front line,” Theriault said. “They’re the ones that are working hard day in and day out to find clients. Pretty much every company out there is buying our product. It pays to be involved in NASCAR as there are a multitude of large companies within the sport. Our client executives are the ones that are forging the initial relationship with new partners.”

SEE MORE: Mazda Uses Racing to Better Tell Brand Story

Partnering with Stewart-Haas Racing has paid off for Theriault and his team as they’ve been exposed to the number of companies with large IT budgets that are not only buying computer products but wanting to expand their operations. Theriault knows that things move quickly in the IT space, and it’s important for him and his team to begin to develop those relations.

While ITsavvy desires to expand its partnerships to other businesses in NASCAR, Theriault has a long-term vision for the deal with Stewart Haas.

“After spending time with Vice President of Sales Mike Verlander, Co-owner Tony Stewart, and Clint (Bowyer), I knew it was a relationship that could be forged,” said Theriault. “We’re looking to have more races and certainly have a multi-year partnership. From a personal standpoint, I love this partnership because I’ve been a car guy from a young age. I felt like it was a great relationship for our company to start and am really passionate about our involvement with the folks at SHR.”

Kraig Doremus is a content writer for Front Office Sports with a focus on NASCAR. He holds a B.S. in Sport Studies from Reinhardt University and is currently pursuing his M.A in Sport Education from Gardner-Webb University. He can be reached at


Warriors Surprise Nearly 20,000 Fans with Google Home Minis

In partnership with Google Nest, the Golden State Warriors gave Google Home Minis to every fan in attendance of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Bailey Knecht



Photo Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

When 19,596 fans entered Oracle Arena for the NBA Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night, they were expecting an energetic atmosphere and high-level basketball. What they didn’t expect was that they would all be leaving with a new Google Home Mini smart speaker.

It seemed like a routine on-court contest as part of the Warriors’ partnership with home technology brand Google Nest: a fan was selected to shoot a halfcourt shot, and if the shot went in, every fan would take home a Google Home Mini. The fans didn’t know that even if the fan missed—which he did—they would still get to take home the prize.

“What makes the Warriors so special is their dedicated fanbase, so how can we thank the fans for making wherever the team plays feel more like home?” said Kate Whittington, a partner marketing manager with Google. “That was the objective: thank fans for being awesome, for feeling like home to the team, and to provide them with help for their own homes.”

READ MORE: St. Louis Blues Gamify Western Conference Finals with ‘Enter the Zone’

The giveaway was the largest and most expensive sporting event giveaway of a Google product in history, and it was the Warriors’ first major tech giveaway. With 20,000 Google Home Minis to transport and distribute, carrying out the activation and keeping it under wraps was no easy task.

“We have pallets and pallets and pallets of these things that are extremely expensive,” said Mike Kitts, VP of partnerships for the Warriors. “There’s a level of security and mobilization, and then we have to actually unpack and get them into position for distribution. When we talk about this being the most valuable giveaway ever done, there’s reasons for that. Finding a partner that can execute this—it’s not as easy as putting t-shirts on the back of seats.”

The Warriors were the favorites to reach the conference finals, but their first two playoff series wins didn’t come easily. Although the activation was planned in advance, the execution was not guaranteed until last Friday when the Warriors advanced past the Rockets in Game 6 of the conference semifinals.

“The difficulty of it is to try to plan for a future that is not promised,” Kitts said. “You’re playing in a series, and you can’t get ahead of yourself to assume you’re playing, but you have to appropriately plan the next round…The nature and scale of the platform of the Western Conference Finals provides enhanced amplification here.”

For Google Nest, timing was equally as important. Until recently, Google and Nest were separate brands, but the two organizations joined forces last week in a major rebrand.

“It coincided with the Western Conference Finals, so we wanted to lean into this moment to broadcast the new brand and show some love for our local sports team,” said Whittington.

READ MORE: Dodgers Continue Community Connection with Mexican Heritage Night

The Google Home Mini sells for $29, and although Whittington declined to disclose the exact dollar amount required to provide carry out the giveaway, she called the activation “an investment that indicates the level of importance the Warriors play with us.”

Beyond the giveaway itself, the Warriors and Google Nest spent the evening educating fans on ways they can put their device to use. The fan experience team showed off Google Assistant smart home capabilities in the arena, calling out commands to dim the lights and play music.

“Throughout the game, we’re demonstrating Google technology through the game experience,” Kitts said. “We’re queuing up fan experiences until the big moment so that each person gets the narrative that threads through this, and sees how authentically that Google is layered into the game-day experience.”

Even after the fans left the arena, the Warriors’ marketing efforts weren’t complete.

“With any good activation, we’re looking for the follow-through with shelf life,” Kitts said, explaining that when fans activated their Google Home Minis, they were automatically entered to win tickets to a future Warriors game.

The activation didn’t come about spontaneously. The Warriors’ relationship with Google represents the team’s prime location in the tech capital of the country, according to Kitts.

“We’re very lucky to be in this region of the world,” he said. “I would say the ownership group is reflective of this region, and it manifests itself in the overall culture and willingness and ability to partner with tech companies that we’re proud of.”

And with Tuesday’s giveaway, the Warriors and Google Nest took that cutting-edge culture and turned it into an unforgettable moment for fans.

“We’re all consumers, we’re all experience goers, so we’ve been to a ton of arenas and seen advertising—that’s not what this is,” Kitts said. “This is two brands coming together to think through, ‘How do we change the game-day experience and make it additive and cool and make fans remember and appreciate it?’”

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Oakland Coliseum Scores Naming Rights Partner

Per the San Francisco Chronicle, The Coliseum will now be known as the RingCentral Coliseum thanks to a new three-year, $3 million deal.

Front Office Sports



Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else. 

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is set to have a new name.

Thanks to a three-year, $3 million deal, the Coliseum will now be known as the RingCentral Coliseum, according to Phil Matier of the San Francisco Chronicle

What do you need to know?

1. The deal is for three years with an option for a fourth year.

2. The Coliseum has been without a naming rights partner since pulled out of its $1.45 million-a-year deal with the Coliseum after the Raiders announced plans in 2016 to leave.

3. The $1 million-a-year deal represents a discount from the old one based on the fact that the A’s will be the only professional team playing in the venue past this season.

Who is RingCentral?

Founded in 1999, RingCentral is a publicly traded provider of cloud-based communications and collaboration solutions for businesses. The company has 2,500 employees with offices in the U.S. in Denver, Charlotte, and Boca Raton. 

Late last year, the company became a foundational partner for Chase Center, the new home of the Warriors. Estimates have that deal pegged at $1 million per year for 10 years.

Tale of two venues…

While only 16 miles separate Oracle Park and RingCentral Coliseum, the future of both couldn’t be more different.

Earlier this year, the San Francisco Giants signed a 10-year, $200 million dollar deal with Oracle to rename their home to Oracle Park.

With the A’s expected to leave the Coliseum in the coming years pending developments with their bid to get a new stadium, RingCentral was able to get a deal for a venue with two pro sports teams (at least for this year) at 1/20th the cost of what Oracle is paying the Giants.

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Kansas City Royal Whit Merrifield Highlights Boulevard Brewing Campaign

Kansas City brewery Boulevard Brewing has tabbed Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield for a rebrand that was as natural as partnerships get.




Whit Merrifield Boulevard

Photo Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield is a major piece of a significant beer campaign by Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing.

Merrifield, who led MLB in hits and stolen bases last season, has partnered with the craft brewer for its Unfiltered Whit campaign that promotes one of its flagship products, Unfiltered Wheat. The campaign features advertising, merchandise, a sweepstakes and plenty of player appearances. Boulevard has made the beer for 25 years, and now the brewery’s best-seller is getting a modern makeover.

According to the brewery, it’s one of the first endorsements between a Major League Baseball player and a craft brewery despite plenty of athletes loving beer and some, like former Boston Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis, owning breweries.

READ MORE: Crawford Bock Brings Beer and Baseball Together for Astros

As the brewery realized the “beer that built Boulevard” needed a refresh, it turned to an athlete who knows the brewery and the Kansas City community well, Boulevard CMO Natalie Gershon said. A witbier is a type of Belgian-style wheat beer, so Whit Merrifield’s name fits well even beyond the similarity to wheat.

“We joke that the campaign wrote itself,” Gershon said. “However, Whit is an amazing baseball player and a true fan of the brewery. When we got the chance to work together, the partnership came together very quickly as we both knew we wanted to do something fun, authentically Kansas City and charitably driven.”

As part of the campaign to introduce the rebranded Unfiltered Wheat, the Boulevard team and Merrifield came up with “Whit-icisms,” ultimately recording videos of the player and his life as a baseball player in Kansas City. Likewise, Merrifield’s likeness will be used on billboards throughout the Royals’ region, most notably on Boulevard’s outfield wall sign at Kauffman Stadium.

“Boulevard is an essential part of Kansas City,” Merrifield said in a statement. “I’m so proud of these iconic Kansas City partners and the opportunity to raise money and awareness for this incredible organization.”

A sweepstakes will give fans the chance to win a VIP experience for an on-field meet-and-greet with Merrifield in September plus tickets to the Royals’ Dugout Suite with Boulevard representatives. Boulevard also created new ad spots for the Unfiltered Wheat for Hulu and the Fox Sports Royals Live Postgame Show.

Finally, as part of the deal, Boulevard has partnered with Kansas City’s Charlie Hustle Clothing Co. to make Unfiltered Whit t-shirts, with a portion of the $35 tees going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City.

READ MORE: Less is More: How Andrew Luck Handles Off-The-Field Partnerships

“We are thrilled to team up with Boulevard Brewing and Whit Merrifield to create our spin on Unfiltered Whit and to support a great cause,” Charlie Hustle CMO Katie Martincich said. “This collaboration is near and dear to us as it embodies three things we love: synergy among KC brands, enthusiasm for local sports, and charitable contributions to a great KC foundation.”

The partnership with Merrifield deepens longstanding ties between the brewery and the baseball team. Boulevard became the “Official Craft Beer” of the Royals in 2017, which established six Boulevard-centric destinations within Kauffman Stadium and the brewery’s Smokestack in the outfield. Additionally, the brewery has rolled out the Mexican-style lager ¡Vamos! for the second year, a beer made as a salute to the Royals, complete with the branding. Royals imagery has also been used on some of Boulevard’s packaging in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Several other teams have “Official Craft Beer” sponsorships with breweries, so it might not be long before more players are jumping on board with endorsement deals. It’s hard to imagine any brewery, though, partnering with a player whose name lends itself toward easier branding.

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