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Crew announce jersey sponsorship with Nationwide, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

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The Black & Gold’s kits won’t be blank after all.

Columbus Crew SC will have a jersey sponsor in 2020 after all.

The Crew announced on Thursday a a future multi-year sponsorship deal with Nationwide, the central Ohio-based insurance and financial services company. This will make Nationwide the official jersey partner of the Black & Gold in 2021. As for the 2020 season, the Crew will partner with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and feature a special Nationwide Children’s jersey on both the primary gold kit and the new Heritage kit.

Beginning in 2021, all Crew kits will feature the Nationwide logo and Nationwide Children’s Hospital will transition into a community partner role with details to be announced at a later date.

“We are thrilled to announce this partnership with Nationwide and take great pride in the unique opportunity to highlight Nationwide Children’s Hospital on our jerseys in 2020,” Crew Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer Steve Lyons said in a statement. “We know that Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a tremendous resource in our community and is synonymous with so much that is good in Columbus, especially their work to address pediatric behavioral health. We look forward to the special 2020 kits and are excited that our Crew jerseys will then feature the iconic Nationwide logo in 2021 and beyond. Today marks an exciting moment for Crew SC, celebrating the partnership with Nationwide and Nationwide Children’s Hospital as we enter a new era for this Club.”

Both organizations have strong ties to the city of Columbus. Nationwide Children’s Hospital has been the city’s preeminent pediatric care center in the city since its founding in 1892. The organization has expanded significantly in the past decade, opening a new main hospital in 2012 and spreading to 34 facilities including urgent care, primary care and therapeutic care facilities.

“On behalf of the staff, patients and families at Nationwide Children’s Hospital we are so honored to join this partnership with Nationwide and the Crew,” CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Tim Robinson said. “Nationwide has been an extraordinary supporter of the hospital for decades and this is yet another tangible example of their generosity. We look forward to cheering the Crew to victory this season and to this on-going relationship.”

Nationwide Insurance was founded nearly a century ago in Ohio operating as Ohio Farm Bureau Mutual. After a series of acquisitions, the company changed its name to the familiar Nationwide Insurance and became a mainstay of the Columbus skyline, commissioning the building of One Nationwide Plaza in the 1970s to serve as corporate headquarters. The company is currently 73rd on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies in the United States.

“Nationwide is excited that the 2020 jersey sponsorship will go to our longtime community and philanthropic partners at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and then Nationwide will become the official jersey and insurance partner of Columbus Crew SC in 2021,” Kirt Walker, Nationwide’s chief executive officer, said. “This brings together three hometown teams to engage the Crew’s incredible fan base and highlight the important, inspiring work being done by the hospital.”

The deal with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Nationwide Insurance will be the fourth jersey sponsorship in the history of the Crew. Cleveland based Glidden, a paint company, became the Black & Gold’s first jersey sponsor beginning in the 2008 season. That deal ran through 2011. The team went without a sponsor in 2012 before Dublin, Ohio-based company, Perio, sponsored the team with their Barbasol shave brands as the jersey advertiser starting in 2013 and ending in 2016.

The team struck an agreement with Honda to advertise the manufacturer’s Acura luxury vehicle division beginning in the 2017 season. The partnership highlighted the strong local ties of Honda of America, which manufactures automobiles and has a research and development arm in the Marysville, Ohio area, just outside of Columbus.

The team announced earlier this week that OhioHealth will become the Founding Partner of the team and sponsor the team’s new training center to be built on the west side of what is currently MAPFRE Stadium, the OhioHealth Performance Center.

With the signing of a primary jersey sponsor, the team can now pursue secondary jersey sponsorship opportunities. Major League Soccer rules allow the signing of a sleeve sponsor patch for the first time this season. As of this publication, the only MLS teams with sleeve sponsors are Atlanta United, D.C. United, Toronto FC and Los Angeles Football Club.

The team will have other major sponsorship opportunities as they prepare for the opening of the new downtown stadium in the summer of 2021.