MasterCard reps talk sponsorship

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MasterCard reps talk sponsorship

Written By Robert Berger

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Point Park students learned last week that MasterCard is more than just a credit card company.

The Pittsburgh Center for Sports Media and Marketing welcomed MasterCard representatives Mike Tasevski and Adrienne Jonas to Point Park last Thursday, April 14.

Tasevski holds the senior vice president of United States sponsorship position at MasterCard, while Jonas is the vice president of the United States team sports sponsorship. The two spoke to students about MasterCard’s sponsorship roles, benefits and the company’s portfolio.

Tasevski shared early on that sponsorship has changed greatly through the years that he has been in the business.

“It is no longer about getting a rink board, or getting a logo on your field,” Tasevski said.

The importance of loyalty was brought early on as well, as Tasevski said that sponsorship roles are a large commitment. Major League Baseball was used as an example, as they have been partners with MasterCard for almost twenty years now.

With loyalty being a major discussion point, he explained how the company maintains loyalty across a wide range of people with the Priceless Surprises program. The program gives back to cardholders by randomly surprising them with something as large as Justin Timberlake knocking on a fans door with tickets or having an autographed baseball sent to a fans home.

Tasevski shared the company’s philosophy is that experiences card holders have is the most important thing, which why they continue the Priceless surprises.

Tasevski explained that the surprises program is successful in a number of ways. One being that it keeps cardholders actively spending, which in turn keeps business up for banks. Another is that it keeps the cardholders loyal to the MasterCard brand.

After discussing the success of the rewards program, Tasevski explained MasterCard’s incubation lab and how he feels this is the biggest innovation he has seen in his seven years of being with them. The lab is used to brainstorm new ways a MasterCard can be used. An example Tasevski touched on is that cards can now be synchronized with Samsung refrigerators to remind card holders when they are running low on certain products.

Tasevski then turned the floor over to Adrienne Jonas to discuss sports partnerships in detail.

Major League Baseball was one organization they covered as they have been a steady partner. Jonas spoke about the various ways in which they work closely. Stand Up To Cancer was one she detailed on as MasterCard donated one cent to the cause for every ten dollars cardholders spent when dining out.

The company’s relationship with the PGA and the Masters was also brought up at this time as they both spoke about how they own the digital boards at PGA events as well as working with Arnold Palmer at his yearly invitational.

With the topic of innovation being mentioned throughout it was discussed that in the future, MasterCard will try to expand their company to working with more National Football League Teams and also American National Hockey League teams.

Tasevski took the floor once again to wrap up with speaking about arts and culture and culinary as they work closely performing artists and chefs to bring MasterCard rewards to many different audiences.

Innovation was mentioned once again while on the topic of arts and culinary as MasterCard is looking to grow their arts partnerships. They are also looking to make partnerships with more women.

To end the presentation, Tasevski opened the floor for students to ask any questions they have. One student asked what he feels is the company’s competitive edge that puts them ahead of the rest.

“Priceless is our edge, a lot of companies are trying to copy what we do,” Tasevski answered.

Another student asked what priceless surprise stands out to both.

Jonas shared that working with Stand Up to Cancer during the MLB All Home Run Derby, along with the launch of Apple Pay where cardholders, were surprised with a meet-and-greet the day before a World Series game.

Tasevski agreed with Jonas saying the Stand Up to Cancer event during the Home Run Derby stands out most. During which those in attendance were given placards to write the name of someone battling cancer. Everyone in attendance then stood up holding their cards.

Freshman Sports Arts and Entertainment Management (SAEM) major Nate Smith was in attendance and was surprised at how many connections MasterCard has.

“I didn’t know they were in with so many organizations from baseball to theatre,” Smith said. “I didn’t know they had such a big piece of the pie.”

This was the final event of the year for The Pittsburgh Center of Sports Media and Marketing, an event which Graduate Assistant to the center Kelsey Veydt is satisfied with.

“This year was overly successful, especially with the people we brought in,” Veydt said.

The center welcomed guests such as Pittsburgh Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown, Pittsburgh Penguins senior Vice President of Sales Terry Kalna and Adidas Marketing representative. Krystin Roczko.

For the future, Veydt feels things are only looking up for the center.

“This is the first group we brought in without connections, so I can only see this growing from here,” Veydt said.

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