The Cincinnati Bengals have signed Fortune 500 company Western & Southern Financial Group to a sponsorship deal that makes it an official partner of the team.
Downtown-based Western & Southern’s brand will be featured on signs in Paycor Stadium that are visible to TV cameras during game broadcasts. The brand also will be featured elsewhere as part of the deal.
Terms were not announced.
It’s the first time the insurance, investment advisory and real estate firm has been a sponsorship partner with the Bengals. The company has been a longtime suite holder, David Nevers, Western & Southern’s vice president of public relations and corporate communications, told me.
The partnership “demonstrates strength, collaboration and passion for the Greater Cincinnati community as we team up with one of the city’s leading companies,” Bengals Director of Strategy and Engagement Elizabeth Blackburn said in a news release.
“Western & Southern has great experience in Cincinnati’s sports landscape.”
That experience is led by Western & Southern’s 22-year title sponsorship of the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
That’s the longest run for a title sponsor of a major pro tennis tournament in North America.
Western & Southern is also a sponsor of the Cincinnati Reds, University of Cincinnati football and basketball and the title sponsor of the Western & Southern Thanksgiving Day Race in Cincinnati.
It’s a sponsor of Over-the-Rhine-based data gathering and analysis firm Pro Football Focus, too.
“The Bengals are a big part of what makes Cincinnati the best place to live, work and celebrate life,” Nevers said in the release. “This new partnership is in keeping with our company’s support for organizations and initiatives that preserve our city’s beloved traditions and celebrate the distinct character of our hometown.”
The Bengals aim to build value through the Western & Southern partnership “across all facets of fandom and consumer experience,” Blackburn said.
Western & Southern ranked 314th on Fortune‘s list of 500 largest U.S. companies in May, with $13 billion in 2022 revenue.
Western & Southern likely won’t remain the title sponsor of the tennis tournament over the long term, now that Beemok Sports has acquired it. Its contract to serve as title sponsor runs through next year. Western & Southern is one of five large Cincinnati companies to have committed a combined $10 million to sponsoring the 2024 event and it will likely continue as a sponsor on some level, CEO John Barrett told me in October.
The Bengals have heightened their partnership efforts, hiring Lacy Ekert early this year as the team’s first chief partnership officer. She had been vice president of global partnership development at BSE Global, the parent company of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets.
They also have been increasing their business partnerships as the club has risen to one of the NFL’s top teams.
The Bengals won the AFC North division title each of the past two seasons, advanced to the Super Bowl LVI two years ago and made it to the AFC Championship Game last season.
The Bengals take a 4-3 record and three-game winning streak into Sunday night’s home matchup against the Buffalo Bills at Paycor Stadium. It’s a rematch of last season’s game that was not completed after Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field and nearly died. Hamlin is back with the Bills this season. He’s been inactive for all but one game this season and it’s uncertain if he’ll be on the active roster Sunday night.