After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, thoroughbred racehorse American Pharoah was only two weeks away from his historic Triple Crown run at the Belmont Stakes when his owners appointed Leverage Agency as their exclusive sponsorship and licensing agency.
Leverage secured Monster Energy Drink as the first sponsor, which included branding on trainer/owner jackets, caps and apparel and American Pharoah’s blanket, gear and barn, plus promotional events
Arranged exclusives with the New York Post and ESPN to break the news.
ESPN called the deal “one of the largest single-horse sponsorship deals in history.”
Secured private aviation company Wheels Up as second sponsor, with its logo emblazoned on jockey Victor Espinoza’s pant legs. American Pharoah's owner, Ahmed Zayat, sported a Wheels Up hat during interviews.
Wheels Up co-founder Bill Allard said “... an American Pharoah win today could translate into a "$20 million exposure and marketing opportunity for Wheels Up” (Bloomberg).
Race aired live on NBC - 3rd highest rating ever with millions of viewers tuning in.
Both sponsors enjoyed wide-scale media coverage before, during and after race:
ESPN, Associated Press, Daily Mail, CNBC, USA Today, Boston Globe, Bloomberg, Sports Business Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fox Business, New York Post, Adweek and Yahoo.