Lenovo becomes an NFL sponsor

Computer maker being ‘official laptop’ will boost its visibility

dranii@newsobserver.comJuly 25, 2012 

Lenovo can now boast that it’s “a proud sponsor of the NFL.”

On Wednesday the No. 2 computer maker and the professional football league announced a three-year deal that christens Lenovo “the Official Laptop, Desktop and Workstation Sponsor of the NFL.” Financial details weren’t disclosed, but Lenovo officials said it’s the company’s largest U.S. sponsorship deal ever.

David Schmoock, president of Lenovo’s North American business, said at a news conference at PNC Arena in Raleigh that the time is right to upgrade the company’s marketing efforts in light of surging U.S. sales and increased presence in retail outlets. Lenovo computers can be found in 4,000 stores across the United States.

Schmoock said the NFL sponsorship will especially help the company with a key demographic: 18- to 35-year-olds.

He pledged that Lenovo will make a “big investment” in advertising and marketing in and around NFL games and events, but he didn’t disclose a dollar figure.

Lenovo is based in China, but its executive headquarters is in Morrisville, where its workforce has jumped from 1,550 in mid-2009 to about 2,000. It’s on the verge of becoming the world’s largest PC maker after more than two years of sales growth that has far outpaced the industry, but it’s not as well-known in the U.S. market.

Market research firm IDC rates Lenovo fourth in U.S. shipments with an 8 percent market share, up from 6.1 percent a year ago but still far behind leader HP’s 25.9 percent share.

The NFL has been a Lenovo customer since 2007, and the sponsorship grew out of that relationship, Schmoock said.

Keith Turner, the NFL’s senior vice president of sponsorship and media sales, noted that Lenovo’s ad slogan is “For Those Who Do.”

“There couldn’t be a better fit,” he said.

Ranii: 919-829-4877

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