Toshiba, AEG Take Sports Sponsorship to the Next Level

When it comes to committing time, money and the very best of its technology to further its brand, Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc. is absolutely, 100% not messing around.

Throughout this months-long series chronicling the various approaches document management and office equipment dealers and vendors have gone about showcasing their wares and services, we’ve chronicled the astonishing variety of ways companies have strategically sought out and executed sports sponsorships to promote their brand, reward and court customers and employees and, perhaps most important, connect and give back to their local communities.

America might not be unique its affinity and adulation of sport. But we do it better than any other place in the world.

The truth is that whether it’s the welcoming tailgate of a local college football game or the opportunity to rub elbows with NBA Hall of Famers in a VIP suite, people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and classes are drawn like moths to a flame by the prospect of being within the proximity of power and influence.

It’s about access and opportunity – the most elusive and valuable commodities around for any company or sales rep on the planet. It’s about the experience, the little moments that are hard to explain but make all the difference in the world.

Which brings us back to Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc. and the recently announced multiyear, multimillion-dollar extension of its comprehensive partnership with AEG  — literally the world’s largest sports and live entertainment company – to increase Toshiba’s brand presence around the world.

It’s difficult to comprehensively describe all the details of this deal, but understand that Toshiba will be supplying AEG venues – from the Staples Center in Los Angeles to the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin (and the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, among many others) with its state-of-the-art digital LED screens, e-STUDIO MFPs and interactive, in-game digital experiences.

Toshiba VGK fireworks

The brand awareness, visibility and glad-handing potential are just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the magnitude and variety of sports, art and music productions that are hosted at AEG facilities year-round.

We’re talking about the LeBron James-led Lakers and the up-and-coming, Kawhi Leonard-led Clippers. We’re talking about the Los Angeles Kings – which AEG holds an ownership position in – the Anaheim Ducks and the incredibly popular Las Vegas Golden Knights, via the T-Mobile Arena, as well as the L.A. Galaxy of the MLS and the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. and the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Oh, and there’s like a dozen more ownership, exclusive partnership or venue-related ties with the likes of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills as well as MLB’s Detroit Tigers and top-flight soccer clubs throughout Europe. The list is as long as it is impressive, and almost impossible to fully articulate. It’s the big leagues of big-league sports sponsorship deals.

When Taylor Swift or Beyoncé come to town and perform in any of the AEG venues, Toshiba and its technology, products and world-class services are front and center – for at least another seven years. Coachella? Check.

And throughout all the excitement and anticipation, there’s Toshiba providing the premium indoor and outdoor signage at the Staples Center – including the LED rotation on the scoreboard during all publicly ticketed events as well as rotational exposure of the marquees lining the concourse and all the freeways coming in and out of the venue.

“The sports fan is a good demographic for us in terms of those that would be buyers or influencers or users of our products,” said Bill Melo, Chief Marketing Executive for Toshiba America Business Solutions. “So it’s a nice alignment. Ours is a global business, but we fulfill it locally.”

So picture this: You’re Joe or Jenny Whoever. You’re a top executive at XYZ company that Toshiba is courting for a multimillion-dollar deal. You’re invited to a VIP experience at, say, a Los Angeles Kings game some night in February.

As you are brought into the Microsoft Plaza at L.A. Live – the epicenter of everything sports in Los Angeles – all these LED screens – stories upon stories high – are lit up with your picture and a welcoming message. This is not some boring dime-a-dozen, garden-variety ornate placard in a conference room. You are the center of the world’s attention. You’re just as important – sort of – as the world-class players you’ve come to watch compete. You are the superstar.

Then you’re whisked into the best suite in the building. Wined and dined. Personalized jerseys or sweaters are presented. You are surrounded by celebrities, elite business folk such as yourself, legendary former players and the like.

If it’s a Lakers game, you might bump into Jack Nicholson in the exclusive lounge. You are catered to any every way possible. No guarantee that you can lace up the skates and take a shift or two, but perhaps nothing is out of the question (or so it seems) tonight.

Meanwhile, all the glitz and glamour – the LED screens, the interactive in-game features, the relentless hum of information being printed and distributed by the media, team and fans – is all fueled by the technology, equipment and services provided by Toshiba. What could be more compelling?

“It’s a testament to not only the way we value relationships from a financial and business standpoint, but also that we have done a good job of maintaining the equipment and providing the best technology,” Melo said.

As AEG’s official supplier of MFPs and copiers, Toshiba is not only streamlining document workflow and business operations for all the employees and ancillary business involved in all these various sports and entertainment events, it’s also customizing the products’ user interfaces to address the specific needs of AEG’s employees.

“We are incredibly proud of the relationship we’ve built over the past six years, beginning in Los Angeles and grown in Las Vegas, London and Berlin,” said Jon Werbeck, Vice President, AEG Partnerships. “They’ve allowed us to improve the fan experience and business operations at our venues through innovative digital signage, interactive activations, point-of-sale, and multifunction printers.”

It’s the equivalent of a business hat trick: improving the experience for fans, delivering world-class technology and equipment for AEG franchises and venues, and imprinting the Toshiba brand on everyone and anyone who comes within a country mile of the venues.

Melo said that it’s actually even bigger than that because Toshiba dealers and their customers get to utilize these venues and events in order to create a lot of loyalty.

And Toshiba and AEG are only getting started.

“We at AEG are incredibly excited for the future,” Werbeck said. “As we continue to innovate, we want to work with those brands that help make our business better.”

“We feel that working with companies that provide our fans a more enjoyable experience will be the ones we want to create long-term relationships with,” he added. “We want to build marketing platforms that deliver a tangible return for our partners while continuing to grow mutual value.”

Larry Barrett

Larry Barrett

is an editor and analyst at BPO Media.