SoFi looks for big win at Super Bowl LVI

Whether the favored Los Angeles Rams or the underdog Cincinnati Bengals come out on top at Super Bowl LVI this Sunday, one multibillion-dollar wealth management startup will have already notched a major marketing win.

SoFi Technologies Inc., which dropped big bucks to secure the naming rights to Los Angeles’ football stadium in 2019, will be hoping for a big return on its investment when America’s most watched sporting event comes to town this weekend.

Viewership is expected to top 117 million, according to the data analytics firm PredictHQ, and could significantly increase brand awareness for SoFi, the one-stop mobile app for financial services founded in 2011.

According to reports, the company will spend a record $625 million over 20 years to showcase its brand on the 3.1-million-square-foot stadium, the largest in the National Football League.

“These big marketing spends are really the gifts that keep on giving,” said April Rudin, founder and CEO of the wealth management marketing consultancy The Rudin Group. “It’s expensive, but the payoff will be there.”

After the stadium hosted the hotly contested NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams in January, Super Bowl LVI week could draw hundreds of millions more potential eyeballs.

Sporting events are popular targets for fintech firms because fans generally line up with the target demographics of mobile investing companies — usually younger, mass-affluent investors. Another popular online investing app, Betterment, is well-known for high-profile TV campaigns, including commercial spots during the U.S. Open Tennis Championship.

“SoFi is a mobile app, so if you think of how many people are walking around the stadium on their smartphones, it’s the perfect fit,” Rudin said. 

The deal was backed by SoFi’s impressive marketing budget, which had surpassed $200 million annually around the time of the stadium agreement. The marketing spend helps promote new product launches and sign up new customers, according to Bloomberg.

Along with Super Bowl LVI, SoFi Stadium will also host the College Football National Championship Game in 2023, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in 2028. 

San Francisco-based SoFi, which was originally founded to set up affordable alternatives for student lending, has since branched out into almost every finance segment, including banking, investing and lending, and has racked up millions of users through its online and mobile applications. 

The company went public through a SPAC in June, which valued the upstart at around $8.7 billion, then in January it landed its highly publicized banking charter, further cementing its status in the U.S. financial system.

In a sign of the times, the stadium will be highlighting tweets of Super Bowl predictions and hot takes in LEDs on the roof and throughout the arena, teaming up with Twitter to make a big marketing splash during the event. SoFi CEO Anthony Noto was a longtime chief operations officer at Twitter Inc. and also spent time as chief financial officer of the National Football League. 

While there’s a long history of incumbent financial services companies buying up stadium naming rights, including Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida, which hosted last year’s Super Bowl, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, it’s much less common for venture capital-backed fintech startups to slap their names on massive sporting arenas.

“The opportunity for younger brands to get out there and make a splash is certainly pushing the creative envelope,” Rudin said.

The post SoFi looks for big win at Super Bowl LVI appeared first on InvestmentNews.

Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.

Andrew Vincent
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.
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