With ties to some of the country’s highest-profile sports properties, Bose Corp. is turning up the volume on sponsorship.

Since dipping its toe in the sponsorship waters in 2011 with a partnership with the National Football League the privately-held audio products manufacturer has broadened its portfolio with ties to the PGA Tour and the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association.

Bose this year expanded its partnership with the NFL in a deal that adds the headphone and headset categories as well as global marketing rights.

The company—which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year—is doubling down on sponsorship to engage a new generation of customers.

“The right sponsorship can be more powerful and effective in reaching new customers as compared to traditional advertising,” said Mike Mangione, Bose’s director of consumer marketing.

Product integration plays a key role in Bose’s sponsorship strategy. The company this year will provide headsets to NFL coaches to promote its technology in action and “Better Sound Through Research” slogan.

“We look for opportunities that allow us to integrate our products and technologies like the sideline headset we engineered for the NFL. We’re trying to bring the benefits of our research to sponsorship.”

In addition to product integration, Bose is using sponsorship to accomplish the following four marketing objectives:

  • Engage young adults
  • Access IP for new product lines
  • Gain global marketing rights
  • Build relations with cosponsors

Uses US Snowboard Team To Reach Young Adults
While Bose markets loudspeakers, automotive sound systems and other products, headphones frequently take center stage in the company’s sponsorships.

Bose in December 2013 inked a three-year partnership with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Assn. to promote its line of in-ear headphones. The sponsorship focuses on the U.S. Snowboard team, a tie the company is using to reach teen and twenty-something consumers.

As a brand popular among adults for noise-canceling headphones, the tie gives Bose an opportunity to reach a new demographic and offset competition from Beats Electronics, Skullcandy and other youth-centric brands.

“Bose has a good hold on our alpine demographic—the 34-to-56-year-olds. They need to align with the next generation of headphone buyers,” said Brook Bingham, the USSA’s director of corporate partnerships & marketing, referring to the company’s affiliation with the U.S. Snowboard team.

Bose’s USSA activation centers on athletes. The company provides products to snowboarders and presents the athlete lounge at U.S. Grand Prix snowboard events. Bose also gains exposure on NBC and NBC Sports Network TV broadcasts.

Headphones represent a hot category for the USSA and other rightsholders. The headphone market grew 11 percent to $2.3 billion in 2013, with the premium headphone market (headphones over $100) increasing 21 percent to surpass $1 billion, according to The NPD Group, a market research firm.

Case in point: the USSA spoke with four headphone manufacturers before going with Bose.

“It’s a hyperactive space,” said Bingham.  

Bose also is exploring potential endorsement deals with Team USA snowboarders.

Broadens NFL Deal With Global Marketing Rights
Bose in 2011 partnered with the NFL on behalf of home audio systems and speakers, a tie it expanded this year to include headphones and headsets.

“Their goal is to showcase the fan experience in the home,” said Dave Lynch, the NFL’s group managing director of sponsorship.

Bose activates the partnership with “Sounds of the Game,” a marketing platform that offers an inside look at sideline conversations and fan reactions. The company touts the platform on the NFL Network, NFL.com and other channels.

Bose also leverages the tie with broadcast enhancements and in-store promotions that include consumer sweepstakes and content from NFL Films.

The company may leverage the tie with a line of headphones that feature team logos.

“We have talked about it the last year or so. Right now everyone is interested in getting headsets on the sidelines,” said Lynch.

Bose may also leverage headset rights with NFL cosponsors. Potential partners include Verizon Wireless and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox, both of which market products that can be used with headsets.

Uses PGA Tour To Build Presence in China
Bose this month announced a three-year partnership with the PGA Tour that affords category rights in China.

The tie includes exclusivity in the home theater, home audio and headphone categories for the PGA Tour and Champions Tour in China.

The deal is significant in that it represents the first corporate sponsorship the PGA Tour has signed that offers exclusive rights outside the U.S.

“The partnership sends a signal of our commitment to China and a beginning to what we think will begin a growing number of business relationships,” said Tom Wade, the PGA Tour’s chief commercial officer.

Bose will activate the tie via PGA Tour programming and ancillary media.

Bose in 2013 inked a multi-year partnership with PGA Tour player Rory Mcllroy. The golfer serves as a global brand ambassador for the company’s headphones, portable speakers and home and automotive systems.