Timberwolves, Lynx Name First-Ever Group Of ‘Founding Partners’
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx welcomed the first-ever group of “founding partners” to its organization on Tuesday. Five companies, all of which hold an existing relationship with the two basketball organizations, will help fund the ongoing $130 million renovation project at the Target Center as part of the partnership deal.
How much each company will pay remains unclear, the Star Tribune reported, but details behind the way each partner’s “physically presence” (such as outdoor and indoor advertising) is utilized throughout the arena will be disclosed at a later date.
The new partners are U.S. Bank, Federated Insurance, Jack Link’s, Treasure Island Resort & Casino, and television manufacturer TCL.
Of the five founding partners, TCL—also known as The Creative Life—holds one of the shortest relationship with the Timberwolves and Lynx. The Huizhou, China-based company became the “official TV” of the basketball franchises only last month. Ties between China and the teams have deepened since owner Glen Taylor sold a minority stake of the Timberwolves to Lizhang Jiang, an investor from Shainghai, back in June.
TCL was the first Chinese company to ink a deal with Minnesota’s two professional basketball organizations since Jiang’s introduction as the first Chinese owner in NBA history.
“Being a founding partner of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx is quite an honor,” Chris Larson, vice president of sales and marketing for TCL, said in prepared remarks. “TCL is proud to be part of such an esteemed and diverse group of companies.”
Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank, on the other hand, maintains a relationship with the Timberwolves and Lynx that goes back to when the teams were founded in 1989 and 1998, respectively.
“U.S. Bank’s longstanding partnership with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx is a great source of pride for our organization and the nearly 12,000 employees who live and work in the great state of Minnesota,” said Richard Davis, CEO of U.S. Bank (who was also named TCB’s 2016 Person of the Year).
Federated Insurance, which is headquartered in Owatonna, has been partnering with both basketball teams for years with a focus on helping Minnesota youth.
“We believe it is important to align our company with this professional organization so committed to giving back to the greater Minnesota community,” said Federated Insurance CEO Jeff Fetters. “Being a founding partner of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx is a great source of corporate pride.”
Earlier this year, Welch-based Treasure Island Resort & Casino expanded its partnership for “premium level” naming rights around the Target Center.
“The Prairie Island Indian Community has partnered with the Timberwolves since 1999,” Shelley Buck, president of the Prairie Island Indian Community Council, said in a statement. “As a founding partner, we will have more branding presence and the ability to create exciting promotions for the visitors to Target Center.”
Jack Link’s, however, is the newest member to join the Timberwolves and Lynx organizations in a partnering capacity. The partnership also makes the Minong, Wisconsin-based company the teams’ “official jerky.”
“The partnership unifies two powerhouse organizations with a shared mission for ongoing success here in Minneapolis,” said Jack Link’s marketing officer TD Dixon in prepared remarks. Last February, Jack Link’s moved into Mayo Clinic Square, the downtown Minneapolis multiuse facility where the Timberwolves and Lynx both practice.
Construction teams at the Target Center recently completed the first phase of the renovation project. The final phase of renovations are expected to finish in time for the start of the 2017-2018 Timberwolves season.