Polaris Industries Inc. has signed a 10-year marketing deal with the Minnesota Vikings that gives the off-road vehicle, snowmobile and motorcycle maker its own U.S. Bank Stadium gate and branding inside and outside the facility.
“We are really excited about this. It’s one of the things we have been working on for over a year,” said Polaris CEO Scott Wine. “We are extremely pleased with the exposure of Polaris in the new U.S. Bank Stadium and what we will get through the year in the way of various outreach efforts with the Vikings.”
The Vikings approached the Medina-based recreational-vehicle maker about doing something together. As part of the exclusive agreement, Polaris becomes one of eight official “founding sponsors” of the new U.S. Bank Stadium.
So far, Polaris is the fifth such partner to actually be named, following MillerCoors, Hy-Vee Inc., Land O’Lakes Inc. and CenturyLink, said John Penhollow, Vikings vice president of corporate and technology partnerships.
While Polaris advertised and occasionally had products in the old Metrodome, this is the first extensive partnership with the Vikings. Eventually, it should offer fans a lot, officials said.
For example, as part of the pitch to the NFL to host the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis, Polaris proposed using Polaris side-by-sides and snowmobiles to chauffeur fans from tailgating sites to the game. Now Polaris hopes to offer such rides to tailgaters during most Vikings home games.
Wine would not disclose what Polaris paid for the partnership, beyond saying it is a 10-year deal worth millions. He added that the cost is “not material” to Polaris’ $500 million in annual profits.
Because the Vikings will have limited named sponsors in the new stadium, it focused mainly on corporations founded in Minnesota or the region and those that were global and category leaders, Penhollow said.
Polaris’ new stadium sponsorship includes a variety of internal and external branding, including the naming rights to the new “Polaris Northwest Gate,” a connecting hallway into the new $1.1 billion stadium, plus one of the field entrance tunnels that players will use. It also will include permanent and digital signs.
The new Polaris gate is a “very good gate for pedestrian traffic,” Wine said, and the hallway allows a place to display the company’s products and branding.
Over time, the company hopes the high visibility pairing could foster lucrative results. “We certainly expect it will drive incremental sales for us,” Wine said.
The exclusive agreement means the Vikings will not display signs of Polaris competitors such as Arctic Cat, Harley Davidson, Yamaha or Honda, Penhollow said.
It also means that when the stadium opens next year, the operations crew is expected to use Polaris utility mobiles to get around the massive building.
The company showed a hint of what the future might look like. On Monday, Polaris CEO Wine and Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway stood outside the new stadium to show off a Polaris RZR side-by-side vehicle that was uniquely emblazoned in Vikings purple and gold. The rugged one-of-a-kind machine will soon be raffled off to a fan to raise money for United Way.
“These are just great products,” said Greenway, checking out the bold paint highlighting both the Vikings and the Polaris name. “The partnership is just a natural fit. It shows what Polaris means to this region,” said Greenway, who grew up driving Polaris off-road vehicles as a kid in South Dakota.
Penhollow said the area will see future community and charity events that marry Vikings purple and Polaris power sports.
The new relationship should soon become apparent in Polaris dealerships, he said.
In addition, next year, Polaris and the Vikings will co-host a winter festival that will take the place of the Vikings’ annual February snowmobile rally, which had been done with Arctic Cat. The new event will offer Vikings players, snow enthusiasts and sports fans a chance to hit the trails atop Polaris snowmobiles, as well as other activities in the woods, Penhollow said.
Polaris also will co-host the Vikings’ annual motorcycle rally next year. Vikings players and fans will ride Polaris’ Indian and Victory motorcycles. Proceeds from Winter Fest and the bike rally will go to the Vikings Children’s Fund, Penhollow said.