Gila River Resorts and Casinos, a tribally-owned company, becomes the first Native American-owned business to form a partnership with a professional sports team.
The company inked a multi-year partnership with the Arizona Coyotes, a professional hockey team, for branding rights on the team’s popular home jerseys. By doing this, Gila River Resorts and Casinos strengthens its already established bond with pro sports teams in Arizona and takes the opportunity for more marketing.
A Historic Partnership
Soon, the Arizona Coyotes will feature the Gila River Resorts and Casinos company logo on all of the squad’s black home jerseys. Per NHL rules, ads for gambling ventures can only be worn on home jerseys.
Still, the deal is historic for the NHL. That said, this is the first time an NHL team will wear a Native-owned gaming enterprise logo on their jerseys. And both the Coyotes and Gila River couldn’t be more excited about the new partnership.
“Gila River has been a long-term partner for the Coyotes, and we are grateful for their tremendous loyalty and support over the years,” Xavier Guiterrez, the Coyotes’ President and CEO attests.
Further, Gila River will also be a season-long presenting sponsor for the Arizona Coyotes. This means the company will display marketing materials and activations at the team’s temporary stadium at Arizona State University.
The extended partnership only gives Gila River Resorts and Casinos more chances to promote their brand and the importance of Native-owned businesses in the community.
A Continued Effort to Support the Community
The recent brand logo featured on home jerseys isn’t the first time Gila River has partnered with the Arizona Coyotes. For over a decade, the two entities have had a strong and supportive relationship.
The Arizona Coyotes “could have reached out to other business partners,” Gila River Public Relations Manager Daniela Vizcarra admits. “…but since we have a special relationship…it made sense for them [the Arizona Coyotes] to reach out to us.”
In 2014, the Gila River Indian Community signed a naming rights agreement to rename the Coyotes’ new arena to the Gila River Arena. Again, the deal was historic, as it was the first between a Native American tribe and a professional sports team arena.
Lastly, the Coyotes and Gila River Resorts and Casinos have frequently partnered to host community events such as volunteer opportunities, telethons, and other things supporting the surrounding community.
Some have considered Gila River “the official Native American partner of Arizona sports teams.” That said, the company has formed partnerships with the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Suns.
“We get involved in any way that we can,” Vizcarra says. By being involved in the community, Gila River builds a relationship with the community and brings awareness to their Native American culture.