Fifth Third Bank at that time had enjoyed the naming rights to the stadium since 2000 when the team became affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds and started play in the Midwest League.
Before the pandemic cancelled the 2020 season, the Dragons could boast 1,385 straight sold-out games since April 2000, with 11.5 million fans watching games at what had been Fifth Third Field.
Securing naming rights within sports marketing agreements is a way to create enthusiasm, grow business and extend brand awareness, Murphy said.
The pandemic’s first year was a challenge for many small businesses, including the Dayton Dragons. Leaders of Boost Engagement, Chief Executive Officer Dawn Conway and Chief Vision Officer Mike Emoff, asked Murphy for a meeting last summer, asking about the organization’s situation and the possibility of a relationship.
Dawn Conway, left, is Boost Engagement's CEO. She works with Chairman Anita Emoff, right. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Credit: Thomas Gnau/Staff
Credit: Thomas Gnau/Staff
“They actually came to us and asked to sit down with us during the summer,” Murphy recalled. “We had a socially distanced meeting down in our conference room.”
“The thing they were checking in on was, how are you guys doing?” he added. “What can we do to help you?”
Emoff said the meeting was not necessarily a business overture, at least at first. But the possibilities became clear over time.
There was also a history at work. Boost Engagement and the Dayton Dragons have been partners for 21 years, dating to the Dragons’ launch. The relationship began when Shumsky – a brand of Boost Engagement LLC — supplied the team with store merchandise, promotional materials, t-shirts, hats and bobbleheads.
“It’s a big step for us. We’ve never done anything like this before,” Emoff told the Dayton Daily News.
Murphy said 70 of the Dayton area’s top 100 companies have over the years taken advantage of the ball park’s suite level, as suite lease holders, renting a suite or reserving a place on guest lists. The team also has relationships with 15 area chambers of commerce, he said.
Financial terms of the agreement with Day Air Credit Union were not revealed last year, but it was a 10-year agreement. Similarly, Murphy did not reveal terms of the deal with Boost Engagement Thursday, but he said it is a four-year agreement.
The suite area includes 28 luxury boxes, television and radio broadcast booths and a press box.
“There’s an immense feeling of gratitude that we’re carrying right now, and we’re thankful,” Murphy said.