Md. National Guard expands its Baltimore Ravens deal to include practice jerseys

Posted: 7:00 pm Sun, August 1, 2010
By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

After saying last season they could afford to be picky, the Baltimore Ravens have made their selection — the Maryland National Guard gets to be the first entity in Baltimore to take advantage of the NFL’s new rule allowing sponsorship patches on practice jerseys.

The Guard is paying a total of about $350,000 this year as part of an expansion of its sponsorship of the team, according to the Guard’s public affairs office. The cost is being split equally between the Maryland National Guard and the national organization.

The expansion in sponsorship includes the Maryland National Guard logo on Ravens practice jerseys, a tent at training camp and Ravens home games and more signage at M&T Bank Stadium.

“Our slogan is we are Maryland’s ‘first line of defense’ so that’s obviously tying in to the success the Ravens have had here,” said Lt. Col. Charles Kohler, a public affairs officer.

The logo debuted last week at Ravens’ training camp, and Kohler noted it’s already paid dividends. Last week, USA Today ran a photo of quarterback Joe Flacco in his practice jersey — and the Maryland National Guard logo was clearly visible, he said.

The Guard has been a sponsor of the team for two years, and last year paid roughly $40,000 total for its sponsorship of the team.

The Guard’s logo on Ravens’ practice jerseys is on a year-by-year basis, according to team President Dick Cass.

The rule change allowing logos on practice jerseys was enacted last summer. It allows sponsor logos no larger than 4½ inches by 3½ inches on practice jerseys. Roughly half of the league’s 32 teams jumped on a deal last year — some worth millions.

Some teams, such as the St. Louis Rams, already had a practice facility sponsor and added the logo in exchange for a bigger deal. Others, like the New York Jets and New York Giants, signed all-encompassing deals last year. The Giants’ deal with Timex is reportedly worth $35 million over 15 years.

Cass told The Daily Record last football season the Ravens were still looking for the right sponsor and would not sell the jersey sponsorship “for the sake of selling it.”

When asked about the significant difference in price between the Giants’ and Ravens’ deals, Cass noted the deal with Timex was “significantly larger” than Baltimore’s deal with the Maryland National Guard. The Timex deal also includes naming rights to the Giants’ practice facility.

The Ravens have not sold naming rights to their practice facility in Owings Mills.

The deal gives the Ravens a nice way to “test the waters” of having a practice jersey logo and puts the Maryland National Guard in front of more potential recruits, said Susan Goodell, vice president of Baltimore public relations agency, Warschawski.

“In terms of who they’re trying to reach, it’s between the ages of 16 and 25, and certainly that’s a key demographic for football fans,” said Goodell, who added the deal made sense for both parties.

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