Headlining the new crop is Cincinnati, Ohio-based plumbing and drainage company Roto-Rooter, which becomes the first sponsor of the United Center's public restrooms. Under the deal, the company will have signage on restroom mirrors, above urinals and outside select restrooms.
Selling rights to restrooms is a sign of the Bulls' brand strength, though it's also a logical fit for Roto-Rooter, says sports sponsorship consultant Josh Kritzler, who helped pioneer bathroom ad signage in ballparks before launching his Chicago-based firm Property Consulting Group.
"Public restroom signage offers a captive audience," he said. "And it gives you the opportunity to be a little more risque or creative. For a brand like Roto-Rooter, that's a very top-of-mind place to deliver their message."
The Bulls, which host their first home game of the 2014-15 regular season Oct. 31, also sold rights to the promotional blimp that flies over fans during games to Deerfield-based specialty steel products distributor and longtime sponsor Magellan Corp., which is best-know for adorning the black backdrop at almost every Bulls news conference.
It will be the official sponsor of the Bulls' "Bullimp" under an expanded deal, which includes branding on the player tunnel wall shown on the scoreboard during pregame.
Another new asset the Bulls have sold this season involves a VIP experience. Vernon Hills-based technology products company CDW Corp., a new corporate partner, will be allowed to have four guests each game watch the players huddle before taking the court and then stand on the court for player introductions. Also part of the deal will be a "Court of Dreams" experience with 50 CDW guests playing a basketball game on the Bulls floor.
The Bulls set a team record for sponsorship revenue this season thanks to those deals and others, which include new partnerships with Springfield, Massachusetts-based insurance company MassMutual Financial Group and Downers Grove-based industrial products company Dover Corp.
Those add to renewed or expanded deals this year with physical therapy provider Athletico Ltd., Advocate Heath Care, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc. and United Airlines, which this year signed a 20-year naming rights agreement for the arena.