Forest River Inc. is partnering with Alberta RV dealer Bruce Urban, owner of the Edmonton Rush professional lacrosse team, to help sponsor the team.
The two-year agreement calls for Forest River logos to appear on the team’s uniforms as well as throughout the 17,000-seat arena in Edmonton where the Rush compete.
Forest River is the first RV company to partner with a team in the 11-member National LaCrosse League (NLL), according to Urban.
Three Canadian teams and eight U.S. teams compete in the NLL whose 16-game season runs from January to mid-April, followed by playoffs which wrap up in May.
Lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport in North America, Urban noted, and it’s getting a foothold in the hearts of spectators and participants thanks to corporate sponsors like Forest River.
“The way minor sports grow is when kids have professional teams to watch,” Urban explained. “They need the sponsorship of community businesses who step forward. It all filters down. Kids don’t play unless there are professional teams. Without corporate dollars, it would be a struggle.”
“We’re excited about the Forest River relationship,” said Urban, who owns nine RV dealerships in Alberta and carries Forest River products. “This is ‘outside-the-box’ marketing for them.”
Urban approached the company last year about establishing the partnership and inked the agreement just recently.
Besides on the uniforms, the Forest River log appears on the “boards” that encircle the playing field, on the Jumbotron above the arena and elsewhere in the building.
Forest River has agreed to purchase a certain amount of tickets for each home game to help kids see the Rush compete, Urban added.
“Our goal is to give the company excellent exposure so they feel 100% happy to get into this sporting business,” Urban said.
The Rush has never made the playoffs since Urban formed the team four years ago, but the Rush is off to a 3-1 start this season and Urban is optimistic.
He’s equally optimistic about the prospects for the RV industry in 2010. He has two dealerships in the Calgary area which just concluded a successful RV show, selling nearly 100 units over the weekend.
“I’m positive on life,” he said. “It costs the same amount of money for optimism as it does pessimism and I choose optimism.”