As evidenced by the breadth and depth of recent deals, bedding companies are becoming more comfortable with sponsorship.

Mattress manufacturers and retailers have significantly expanded their sponsorship portfolios over the past few years with ties ranging from high-profile sports leagues and teams to local fairs and festivals.

In one of the category’s most recent deals, Tempur-Pedic last week announced a three-year partnership with the PGA Tour. The sponsorship builds on a portfolio that includes the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Assn. and the NFL Chicago Bears.

In February, Japanese bedding topping manufacturer Airweave announced a partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee, around which it provided mattresses to Team USA athletes in Sochi.

Local activity is dominated by Mattress Firm, Sleep Train and other bedding retailers. Sleep Train significantly expanded its portfolio over the past two years with two naming rights deals: Sleep Train Arena—home to the NBA Sacramento Kings—and the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Chula Vista, Calif.

Mattress Firm’s portfolio includes the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, State Fair of Texas and the Wisconsin State Fair presented by U.S. Cellular.

Manufacturers and retailers each have distinct sponsorship objectives. Manufacturers focus on media-centric properties that can be used to discuss the importance of a good night’s sleep, while retailers use sponsorship to engage consumers in a one-on-one environment and drive store traffic through ticket giveaways and other promotions.

Retailers also use sponsorship to promote products outside of mattresses. Mattress Firm this year will promote Aquafirm hot tubs at the Wisconsin State Fair. The company is sponsoring the fair on behalf of the Mattress Firm and Aquafirm brands.  

“The mattress category is one of those categories that came out of nowhere,” said Jennifer Puente, the Wisconsin State Fair’s sponsorship manager.

Mattress Firm signed a five-year partnership with the fair in 2011.

No One Night Stand: Tempur-Pedic Expands PGA Tour Relationship
Tempur-Pedic inked an official marketing relationship with the PGA Tour after testing a relationship in 2013 with an ad buy on PGATour.com.

“They did a digital buy, and they felt that it was effective in reaching the right audience. That led to a discussion on how we can do more together,” said Rob Ohno, the PGA Tour’s senior vice president of corporate marketing.

The origin of the partnership was unique, he said.

“Most partners know they want to be involved in golf and jump right in. This was different—they dipped their toe in the water with a digital investment.”

Tempur-Pedic will use the tie to promote its premium products to an affluent audience.

“Golf is a game of precision played by discerning people who appreciate quality. The Tempur-Pedic customer shares these same qualities,” said Patrice Varni, Tempur Sealy’s senior vice president of brand marketing, in a statement announcing the sponsorship.

Tempur-Pedic will initially leverage the partnership across the PGA Tour’s digital, print and broadcast platforms, said Ohno, noting that the two organizations are discussing on-site activation opportunities.

The PGA Tour also plans to explore business-building opportunities with InterContinental Hotels Group, Inc., the Tour’s official hotel sponsor.

Tempur-Pedic in 2013 inked a partnership with the NFL Chicago Bears in which it provided mattresses for the team’s training camp. The company provided 125 king-sized beds for the training camp dorm rooms.

Tempur-Pedic activated the tie with a promotion dangling a Tempur-Ergo Premier adjustable base and Tempur-Choice mattress, two pillows and a sheet set. Consumers entered the promotion on www.ChicagoBears.com/Tempurpedic.

Tempur-Pedic acquired Sealy in 2013 in a $1.3 billion deal.