Business

Lowe’s announces major new deal with the NFL months after cutting NASCAR ties

Lowe’s store on McMullen Creek Parkway in Pineville.
Lowe’s store on McMullen Creek Parkway in Pineville. Charlotte Observer

Lowe’s has announced a new sponsorship with the NFL.

The multi-year deal, announced Tuesday morning, comes as the Mooresville home-improvement retailer is looking to give itself a competitive edge against its chief rival, Home Depot. Lowe’s is kicking off the partnership the week of the Super Bowl, which takes place next month in Home Depot’s hometown, Atlanta.

Lowe’s Chief Marketing Officer Jocelyn Wong told the Observer the NFL deal is a way that Lowe’s is working to grow its professional customer base. Pro customers, such as contractors, spend an average of five times as much as the typical do-it-yourself shopper, Lowe’s has said.

Wong said the NFL deal jibes with the themes of Lowe’s new marketing campaign, which touts the slogan: “Do it right for less.” She described the new campaign as “bolder ... and more energetic” than its past ad campaigns.

“The NFL partnership really is a natural extension of how we want to bring this (campaign) to market,” Wong said.

The deal gives Lowe’s the ability to market and advertise during several high-profile NFL events, such as the Super Bowl and the NFL draft. Fans will notice billboard throughout Atlanta announcing the new partnership during the Super Bowl, for instance, Wong said.

As part of the deal, Lowe’s will be able to advertise with the NFL during the regular season and off season, and will become the presenting sponsor of the Super Bowl Experience, an interactive park for NFL fans, beginning at Super Bowl LIV in 2020 in Miami, Lowe’s said in a statement.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The new Lowe’s-NFL deal comes almost a year after the retailer decided to end its longtime sponsorship deal with seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson in order to “invest in other strategic initiatives.”

NASCAR has been struggling in recent years amid falling ticket sales, loss of sponsors and shrinking TV audiences. This month, the race-car governing body laid off dozens of workers nationwide, including in Charlotte.

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Meanwhile, football remains Americans’ favorite sport to watch, according to a 2018 Gallup poll. Thirty-seven percent of U.S. adults say pro football is their favorite sport to watch, compared with just 2 percent who said auto racing was their preferred sport.

“The NFL has the largest, most avid fan base,” Wong said. “Live viewership is strong.”

Lowe’s is in the midst of a major overhaul as it works to catch up to Home Depot. Marvin Ellison, former CEO of J.C. Penney, took over as CEO of Lowe’s in July. Within a few days, he announced a major shakeup of Lowe’s top leadership positions.

Several weeks later, Lowe’s announced plans to close its Orchard Supply Hardware chain to focus on its main home-improvement business. And in November, Lowe’s said it would shut down nearly 50 poor-performing North American stores.

“As we evolve, (signing the NFL deal) was a great way to reach other customers,” Wong said. “It’s a new day for Lowe’s.”

LowesBillboard.jpg
Lowe’s NFL billboard
As the retail and sports business reporter for the Observer, Katie Peralta covers everything from grocery-store competition in Charlotte to tax breaks for pro sports teams. She is a Chicago native and graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
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