With football season upon us, most fans would rather focus on the gridiron than on their investments.
But NatCity Investments Inc. is out to change that.
The investment banking and brokerage subsidiary of National City Corp. has become the "official investment firm" of the Cleveland Browns, its hometown team. And its mutual fund family -- Armada Funds, managed by National City Investment Management Co. -- was named the Browns' "official mutual funds."
The three-year agreement allows NatCity to plaster the Browns' stadium with concourse signs, have the Armada Funds logo on the scoreboard during television broadcasts, link to the team's Web site and sponsor two events during the Browns' Welcome Home Week -- the Armada Funds Cleveland Browns 5k Run and the NatCity Investments Cleveland Browns NFL Experience. The latter is a three-day interactive football festival featuring hands-on activities that test football fans' athletic skills. A crowd of more than 40,000 people attended the lakeside park event in Cleveland in mid-September.
Clients may also benefit from the big-time advertising blitz: The deal includes season tickets and food and entertainment in one of the Browns' corporate hospitality suites.
Clients might also get to meet the Browns' No. 1 draft pick, quarterback Tim Couch, whose personal endorsement is included in the deal.
No news yet from NatCity officials about the success of the sponsorship deal in increasing assets in the 23 funds in the Armada family, which currently total $11.8 billion.