GTE Financial is upping its long-time relationship with the Tampa Bay Rays, by putting its name on the Party Deck, the upper-level bleacher seats in left field at Tropicana Field.
The section, which in the past has been known as The Beach and tbt* Party Deck, now is GTE Financial Party Deck, the Rays said last week when they disclosed renovations at the Trop for 2019.
The naming deal is a great opportunity that aligns with the membership base at GTE Financial, based in Tampa and one of the largest credit unions in the area, said Jennifer Maxfield, vice president of marketing and products for GTE Financial.
She cited the affordability of ticket prices, amid a move by the Rays to close the upper deck.
“It’s a lower cost ticket and no assigned seating, so it’s a popular option for not just baseball lovers but people who want to mingle,” Maxfield said. “In the credit union, we want to support people who are coming out of college and who are trying to find their financial footing and the Rays appeal to that demographic.”
Event and sponsorship marketing are critical for credit unions, which are hyper-localized. GTE’s offices are all located within the Tampa Bay area.
Credit unions historically could only serve members who fit in certain categories, such as working for specific companies or living in a particular geographic area. There’s been a push to allow credit unions to increase their field of membership, and that’s been one reason credit unions nationwide are using sponsorships to reach new members, according to a report from consulting firm IEG.
Sponsorships also allow credit unions to reward existing members, the report said.
GTE previously has given members discounts on Rays tickets along with other promotions, Maxfield said. The credit union plans to continue those discounts and hold both member and corporate activities in the Party Deck space, she said.
There are 1,000+ seats in the Party Deck and no plans for that number to change due to renovations, a spokeswoman for the Rays said.
GTE Financial is a not-for-profit financial cooperative with more than $2 billion in assets and 24 community financial centers located throughout west central Florida. The newest GTE office opened in November in Riverview.
Chartered in 1935, GTE Financial is locally owned and operated in the Tampa Bay area, serving more than 260,000 individuals and businesses.