EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern Athletics and Wintrust (NASDAQ: WTFC) have agreed to a multi-year, integrated partnership set to begin this fall, the two institutions announced Monday.
The landmark partnership between the Wildcats and the financial institution will be defined by significant collaboration and innovation. For the first time Northwestern fans and alumni will have access to Wildcats-branded checking and debit cards through Wintrust banking. As part of its larger partnership investment with Chicago’s Big Ten Team, Wintrust adopts the designation as the “Official Bank of Northwestern Athletics” and becomes a vital brand within the Foundational Partner Program, where Wintrust joins Northwestern Medicine as founding members for the 2018-19 campaign.
“It gives us great pride to work with a thriving Chicagoland partner like Wintrust, one founded in the northern suburbs and committed to community banking,” said Northwestern Combe Family Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Jim Phillips. “Our Northwestern Sports Properties team has done exceptional work over the last eight years, allowing our department even greater resources to invest back in our student-athletes.”
Wintrust will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Northwestern Radio Network for all football and basketball games on WGN AM-720, receive prominent exposure within various print and in-venue promotional assets, be the title sponsor of Ryan Field premium seating in The Wildcat Den, and receive unique entitlements within the new Welsh-Ryan Arena opening in November.
“We’re a local company that was built to serve this area and nothing shows that more than being involved with the things that truly reflect Chicagoland,” said Wintrust President, CEO & Founder Edward J. Wehmer “That’s why we’re proud to sponsor iconic institutions such as the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, and DePaul’s Wintrust Arena, and to solidify partnerships like the one with Northwestern University Athletics. Aligning Chicago’s Bank with Chicago’s Big Ten Team just made perfect sense. It’s an honor to officially say: Go ‘Cats!”
“At Northwestern, we have the unique privilege to work with businesses of all sizes – local, regional and national – that want to support Northwestern Athletics,” said Ryan Connors, General Manager for Learfield’s Northwestern Sports Properties, multimedia rights holder for the Wildcats. “Wintrust’s involvement over the next five years will be transformative for the department overall, and we know our fans will be proud to carry a debit card that boasts purple and white. Wintrust should both be commended for their commitment into our Foundational Partner program and welcomed by the Northwestern community for their unprecedented support.”
Wintrust is a financial holding company with assets of approximately $29.5 billion whose common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Built on the “HAVE IT ALL” model, Wintrust offers sophisticated technology and resources of a large bank while focusing on providing service-based community banking to each and every customer. Wintrust operates fifteen community bank subsidiaries, with over 150 banking locations located in the greater Chicago and southern Wisconsin market areas. Additionally, Wintrust operates various non-bank business units including business units which provide commercial and life insurance premium financing in the United States, a premium finance company operating in Canada, a company providing short-term accounts receivable financing and value-added out-sourced administrative services to the temporary staffing services industry, a business unit engaging primarily in the origination and purchase of residential mortgages for sale into the secondary market throughout the United States, and companies providing wealth management services.
An industry leader for more than four decades, Learfield has a deep presence in the college athletics landscape nationwide. Northwestern Sports Properties is Learfield’s local team managing the NU relationship. In addition to the Wildcats, Learfield oversees the multimedia and sponsorship rights for nearly 130 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas across the U.S., and supports athletic departments at all competitive levels as title sponsor of the prestigious Learfield Directors’ Cup. Learfield also provides its collegiate partners access to professional concessions and ticket sales; branding, licensing and trademark consulting; digital and social platform expertise; campus wide business and sponsorship development; and venue and technology systems through its affiliated companies.