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Exploring the Origin Story of the Groundbreaking Climate Pledge Arena

Jeff Webster likes to start at the beginning when telling the Climate Pledge Arena naming rights origin story. For the Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships at OVG & Seattle Kraken, the initial goal was simply to get an arena built.

Webster was joined by Rosie Selle, the VP of Marketing for Climate Pledge Arena, and Mike McCann, the Sr. Manager Global Sponsorships at Amazon, at this year’s Sponsorship Summit to discuss the journey of the arena naming rights partnership between Oakview Group and Amazon that became the talk of the industry.

Let’s just say the relationship took a bit of creativity to get off the ground. Despite being one of the largest companies in the world, Amazon had never engaged in this type of partnership before. Amazon wasn’t interested in “Amazon Arena” or “AWS Arena.” Before there was ever a partnership, there was a “full-blown breakup meeting,” Webster said.

Then came a little creativity.

The conversation reignited around making an impact on a massive scale. Amazon wanted to help the region and the world, which helped “recalibrate the conversation,” Webster said. That recalibration shifted to Amazon’s Climate Pledge.

McCann admitted that, at first, he was skeptical. Then, “as I started peeling things back, it was clear that this was clearly disruptive,” he said. “This is something Amazon prides itself on being disruptive has some good long-lasting efforts.”

Once a naming-rights deal was in place, everyone involved began to craft the story. “We had to be truly committed to authenticity on the backend,” Webster said.

Selle echoed that sentiment, saying that her marketing team had to “create authenticity” when crafting the arena’s messaging, building a story that would resonate with hockey fans while explaining the science behind the Climate Pledge. The arena would be home to Seattle’s new NHL hockey team, now known as the Seattle Kraken.

The result has been a game-changing naming rights deal that continues to be nurtured by everyone involved. McCann compared the partnership to caring for a dog, “You can’t just have a dog. You have to walk it and feed it. Care for it, check in, nurture it, etc. Partnerships and sponsorships are the same. You have to work with your partner and care for it to be successful.”

When asked to share some of their favorite Climate Pledge Arena features, they all mentioned the living wall, one of the more popular attractions inside the arena.
Shannon: maybe include a picture of the living wall – I know we have one from the SMS tour.

Ultimately, Climate Pledge Arena is a testament to big ideas centered around social impact. It’s a deal that has been good for Amazon, good for the arena and the community. To learn more about the groundbreaking sustainability and social impact initiatives that Climate Pledge Arena has committed to, read the featured blog “Sponsorship Principles of Success Through Creativation” where Mike McCann dives deeper into developing such a unique and first-of-its-kind partnership.