Trend Watch: Credit Unions Partner with Collegiate Arenas to Target Gen Z and Y

The heavy competition between financial institutions to capture new prospective clients has many credit unions looking for new ways to influence the market.

The most sought-after demographic is the 94 million Americans in Generations Y and Z, many of whom have yet to cement their fiscal loyalty and who face a dizzying number of options as to where to get their next loan. However, as most marketing professionals know, reaching Gen Y and Z is not an easy task. The demographic is highly segmented as an audience due to their divided and selective engagement in various forms of media and a general immunity to traditional forms of marketing resultant from a lifetime of exposure to advertising via multiple mediums.

The problem that credit unions face is gaining access to consistent and meaning exposure towards this fickle generation, and many are turning towards Naming Rights partnerships with collegiate sports centers as a solution. What better way to get in front of young prospective members than to create an encompassing presence at the arenas where they go for fun and excitement?

A Partnership between CFE Federal Credit Union and the arena at University of Central Florida has linked CFEFCU to 60,000 UCF students. CFEFCU credits its Naming Rights partnership with University of Central Florida for the acquisition of 629 new households registered through its on campus and arena branches. With an annual retention rate of over 87% at campus locations, the young members are well on their way to forming lifelong relationships with CFEFCU.

Other credit unions such as State Employees Federal Credit Union have found that becoming a Naming Rights partner to a collegiate arena has allowed them to become and influential figure in the greater community.

Through its partnership with the University of Albany arena in Albany N.Y, SEFCU donates $1, 000 every home game to a non-profit organization in the greater community and publicizes the donation at the arena during half time. SCFCU’s partnership with University of Albany has created the perfect platform for the credit union to not only access  prospective young members, but to also increase their brand's integrity by demonstrating a commitment to the community.

Some other drivers behind the trend of Credit Union/Collegiate Naming Rights Partnerships include but are not limited to:

1.      Becoming a Naming Rights partner to a collegiate arena creates consistent access to students, faculty, and the community at large on a daily basis in a way that is generally too expensive to achieve via traditional marketing channels.

2.       Gaining brand association with exciting sporting and entertainment events.

3.      Increase brand recognition, loyalty, and perception among target demographics.

4.      Multiple opportunities to leverage different assets of the partnership such as digital, kiosks, print, media, broadcasting, and the installation of campus branches and ATMs.

5.      Opportunity to offer hospitality and ticket discount benefits to current clients of credit union.

With credit unions expected to expand in number and size in the coming years, post-secondary institutions and sponsorship firms alike would be wise to consider the many positives of the growing mutually beneficial relationship between credit unions and collegiate sports and entertainment arenas. 


-Erin Beaudoin