Bryan Iams, vice president of corporate, government and community affairs for PPG Industries stands along signage for his company Tuesday at Heinz Field.
The new center ice logo with the new arena name, PPG Paints Arena, unveiled in October.
By Joyce Gannon / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
First came a 20-year agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins to put its name on what is now called PPG Paints Arena.
Now Pittsburgh’s hometown coatings giant is hoping for even broader exposure among hockey fans across North America in a deal that makes it the official paint brand for the National Hockey League.
PPG and the NHL were scheduled to announce the deal today — just in time to capitalize on Saturday’s NHL Stadium Series matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers at Heinz Field.
The company and the league declined to disclose financial terms or the duration of the deal except to say it will be a multi-year agreement. PPG will be one of four corporate brands whose logos are featured on the ice when the teams face off Saturday in a game to be broadcast on NBC.
PPG will be one of four corporate brands whose logos are featured on the ice at Heinz Field in a Stadium Series game to be broadcast on NBC. (Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)
PPG, already the official paint company of the Penguins, will supply paints — including its PPG Paints, Glidden and Olympic brands — for use at signature events such as the NHL All-Star Weekend, the Winter Classic and stadium series.
Besides showcasing its logo on the ice, PPG and its brand names will be displayed on scoreboards, in programs and on dasher boards — the steel or aluminum boards that surround the rink.
In a marketing win for the company, it can incorporate the NHL shield and logos to boost brand awareness for its own paint products marketed throughout the U.S. and Canada.
PPG sells its paints and coatings in 630 PPG Paints stores in the U.S., and 250 Dulux stores in Canada. In addition, its brands are on the shelves in more than 6,000 independent dealers and 8,000-plus big-box retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards and Walmart.
The deal allows PPG to use the league’s marks on paint packaging, in-store point-of-sale displays, social media and digital marketing.
“The NHL has a very loyal fan base and we can engage them through coupons, contests and other promotions,” said Bryan Iams, PPG vice president, corporate and government affairs.
For Downtown-based PPG, the sports marketing deal is another step in its ongoing efforts to raise its profile as a major paints producer.
Over the last two decades, the company has been shedding most of its traditional glass and chemicals businesses, and is now among the largest coatings producers in the world with sales hitting nearly $15 billion last year.
While the deal with the Penguins to take over naming rights at the former Consol Energy Arena — which was announced in October — was a significant regional marketing coup, the NHL agreement gives PPG a national platform for its brand and increased presence outside the U.S., said Mr. Iams.
“Hockey is the most popular sport in Canada. And this is the first time we’ve done a sponsorship with a major sports league. The timing was right,” he said.
The deal also provides an opportunity to strike relationships with other teams within the league so that PPG products could coat the halls and seating areas of other venues the way they do at PPG Paints Arena, said Mr. Iams.
Keith Wachtel, executive vice president, global partnerships and chief revenue officer for the NHL, said the league seeks blue-chip brands for its marketing initiatives.
“PPG is clearly a global brand and their business certainly goes beyond Pittsburgh’s borders,” he said. “They will have the ability to put the NHL in the hands of consumers across North America.”
The deal marks the first time the league has partnered with a paint company, he said.
The idea for a PPG-NHL partnership emerged last year while the company was in talks with the Penguins about naming rights for the Uptown arena, said Terry Kalna, senior vice president, sales and broadcasting for the Penguins.
While the agreement doesn’t directly benefit the team, “It’s good for our partner PPG and we have a really strong, long-term relationship with them so it’s in our vested interest to do things that help their business.”
And it might just do that.
“It’s always about marketing and getting your name mentioned,” said Matt Powell, sports industry analyst with market research firm NPD Group.
“There are likely to be some guaranteed mentions during the game that [PPG] is the official supplier of the league. And there’s likely a study that said hockey fans paint their own houses or some affinity they’ve found between hockey fans and paint. And they’re exploiting that now.”
Joyce Gannon: email@example.com or 412-263-1580.
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