By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism.com
January 12, 2016: Esurance in 2015 took its game from online to on the field in a big way.
The division of Allstate signed on in April to become the official auto insurance sponsor of Major League Baseball and title sponsor for the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot.
The insurance firm is also an official partner of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers (which will host Super Bowl 50 in Levi's Stadium in February) and previously partnered with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
In addition, Esurance had been the official car insurance partner for the U.S. Open from 2010-2015 and a sponsor of six Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series events leading up to the Grand Slam in New York.
Beyond sports, Esurance is a primary sponsor of South By Southwest and is preparing for the next film, music and interactive event, scheduled for March 2016. Plans include The Esurance Lounge, the Esurance Glove Box in the Austin Convention Center and an Esurance Access Pass offering people who sign up the opportunity to win goodies as well as create a personalized schedule for panels, parties and other event.
To support its MLB alliance, Esurance signed an endorsement deal with San Francisco Giants catcher and three-time World Series champion Buster Posey, who has a starring role in his own "Sorta You Isn't You" commercial.
In 2015, Esurance changed baseball when it partnered with MLB to bring to fans the first All-Star Game all-digital balloting, leaving behind paper ballots that had been in use for decades. The result: A record 620 million votes cast, plus some 111.8 million cast as part of the Final Vote, which Esurance also sponsored.
Esurance and MLB then built on their first-year pact with The 2015 Esurance MLB Awards, an "expanded awards program leveraging social media and technology culminating in a multi-platform broadcast special."
The 2015 Esurance MLB Awards aired on MLB TV and encompassed 24 categories, including Best Major Leaguer, Best Bounceback Player, Best Social Media Personality, Best Fan Catch and Best Celebrity Fan.
The Esurance All-Star and MLB Awards platforms both were supported with multi-media campaigns.
"We were really surprised at the presence were able to create leading up to and then at the All-Star Game, and the tremendous response that the e-ballots sponsored by Esurance received from fans, who filled them out in record numbers," said Chris Lee, director of brand partnerships and social engagement for Esurance. "We've had great visibility with the e-ballot platform, great visibility throughout MLB and on MLB Network. We have more than three billion impressions generated by MLB."
At the 2015 U.S. Open, Esurance created numerous activations, including a TV spot with the Bryan Brothers and other platforms that featured Victoria Azarenka.
Esurance then was among a group of advertisers signed for the NFL's first live-steam game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, played in London’s Wembley Stadium, which aired on Yahoo on Oct. 25 as part of the NFL International Series.
An Esurance TV spot, "#EqualDreams," was shot at a real wedding and featured children and gay teens who were asked to describe, in their own words, what their future wedding day would be.
Esurance is also a sponsor of Serial, a podcast that tells stories over the course of an entire season. The first season launched in October 2014 and told the 1999 story of a high-school senior named Hae Min Lee who was murdered. It had more than 100 million downloads. Season Two, which launched in December, tells the story of Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured and held by the Taliban for nearly five years.
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