TicketManager | Rookie of the Year: Kaseya Center Deal Already Offers Great Industry Lessons

Those of us in the business of researching, reporting on and gleaning insights from sponsorship deals typically have to wait at least a year or two—and sometimes much longer—before a particular partnership yields takeaways that are valuable for other sports and entertainment marketers. Not to mention that the vast majority of deals, even if successful for the parties involved, don’t ever result in usable case studies for the rest of the industry.

But the two-month-old naming rights deal between IT software company Kaseya, venue owner Miami-Dade County and rights holder Miami Heat—which doesn’t even become official until July 1—is already serving as a best-practice sponsorship example.

For starters there was the wise decision by Heat executives, under the direction of the team’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer John Vidalin, to rename the building immediately upon execution of the deal in early April.

As Vidalin said to Sports Business Journal last week, the team wanted to “show what kind of partner we are…of course, now we’re in the NBA Finals, and it’s a great way to kick off a long-term partnership. No better way to start a new relationship—helping them with some added value that they didn’t expect and we’re delivering on.”

What appears to be a simple statement on behalf of the property is anything but. Moving quickly to put a new partner’s name on the building and ready other assets is not an effortless process.

Plenty of other properties in similar situations have chosen to take the easy road and wait to deliver benefits until they were contractually obligated to do so and the first payment had been made. But the Heat’s move embodies the spirit of partnership that others only pay lip service to. There was some cost to the Heat’s decision, but the team is certain to more than earn it back through the goodwill it established up front with its new partner.

And speaking of earning a return on investment, Kaseya is already reporting positive results from its nascent partnership.

As Sportico reported Thursday, the company—which moved to Miami five years ago—has multiple objectives for the sponsorship. It is seeking to hire 3,000 people locally and is looking to build its brand among small businesses that are the end-users of its tech products.

As CEO Fred Voccola told the publication, “For all the small businesses around the world that are using technology services, we want them saying, ‘Whoever I use, they gotta be powered by Kaseya.’”

The early returns are in and they are noteworthy. While many first-time sponsors might be satisfied with the media exposure numbers generated by coverage of the Heat’s playoff run and the UFC 287 bout the arena hosted in April, Kaseya has reported results directly related to business objectives, including that Miami-based positions the company has posted since April have seen an average 64 percent increase in applications. In addition, outbound strategic partnership inquiries are receiving responses 41 percent more often than prior to the deal announcement. “Previously, those numbers might move by two percent in a month,” Sportico reported.

“It’s like saying, normally you might walk up a little hill, all of a sudden we climbed Mt. Everest,” Voccola told the publication. “The Miami Heat… are the best business partner I’ve ever worked with.”

Whether those results are a) sustainable over the long term and b) worth the average $6.9 million a year the company will spend over the next 17 years are still to be determined of course, but as a new player just stepping on the court, Kaseya is demonstrating the kind of potential seen in top prospects across sports and—together with the Heat—already providing some positive examples of how to approach naming rights and other partnerships.