Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics
The recently announced University of Denver athletics sponsorship with Safeway shows the power of the ‘Pioneers’ nickname. Without a doubt, the on-campus benefits look substantial where “Safeway will receive exposure at the Ritchie Center, Peter Barton Stadium, DU Soccer Stadium, print, digital, game day takeovers, radio advertising and exclusive use of marks. The multi-year contract will surround all DU NCAA sports with a unique and specific emphasis on women’s sports & wellness. Safeway will also contribute to the Pioneer Nutrition Station which will benefit the wellness and performance of DU student athletes.”
But, what really caught our eye was the state-wide reach of the partnership.
“Pioneer fans can also expect some ‘crimson and gold’ apparel and promotions in Safeway stores around the state.” As many people know, there is a love-hate relationship between the Denver metro area and the rest of the state of Colorado. DU’s “Arched Denver” symbol, while helpful outside of the State of Colorado and here in the metro area of Denver, might fall flat outside the Denver metropolitan area in other parts of Colorado.
However, the broad appeal of the “Pioneers” nickname is a bridge that has significant meaning to everyone across the state. Many current Colorado residents made a choice to uproot and move their families to Colorado or they are merely inspired by the mystique of the west and the desire to explore and discover new things. This use of ‘Pioneers‘ makes a logical branding tie and allows a relatively small private university located in Denver to extend a necessary, more visible presence across the State of Colorado.
Visually embracing the nickname helps DU create a win-win partnership for DU and Safeway. We salute the University of Denver athletic department for the development of a state-wide strategic partner which will provide much-needed support, visibility, and awareness.
Denver’s Director of Athletics, Karlton Creech said it best, “Safeway is uniquely positioned to service our students, alumni, and fans throughout Colorado. We look forward to helping build connections with our passionate Pioneer Family.”