A new agreement with Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) announced this week makes UCHealth a sports and health care partner for all seasons.
The partnership with KSE, which owns the Nuggets, Avalanche, and Colorado Mammoth, among many other entities, was finalized Jan. 20. It immediately makes UCHealth the official health care partner of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, and the partners will launch a regular series of events aimed at raising health care awareness among members of the Colorado community, said Manny Rodriguez, UCHealth’s chief marketing officer.
In addition, UCHealth will work with team doctors of the Nuggets and Avalanche to assist them in providing services and care for players, Rodriguez said. Beginning next season, the Colorado Mammoth will join the partnership. Details are also being finalized on a plan to make health care coverage at UCHealth facilities available to KSE employees.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to work alongside a world-class organization such as UCHealth,” said Tom Philand, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for KSE, in a press release. “Beyond providing great health care, their commitment to community mirrors our own.”
As part of the agreement, UCHealth employees will also be eligible for discounted prices for game tickets and gear for the Nuggets, Avalanche and Mammoth.
Together with prior agreements forged with the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies, the new agreement gives UCHealth “a platform to engage the community 365 days a year,” Rodriguez said. The aim for 2016 is to tie monthly community educational and service events to specific conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, and so on, he added.
With the agreement, the UCHealth logo will be on display at Nuggets’ practice and fitness facilities, just as it is at the Broncos’ UCHealth Training Center in Englewood. Next year, Avalanche fans can expect to see the UCHealth logo on ice-resurfacing Zamboni machines, Rodriguez said.
Tying UCHealth to the area’s sports teams helps to build brand awareness for UCHealth, Rodriguez said, but the link is part of a larger strategy built aimed at disease and injury prevention. The approach began last September with the Broncos’ first Health and Wellness Expo, co-sponsored by UCHealth, Children’s Hospital Colorado and 9News.
“It’s no longer only about sports,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve proven with the Broncos that we are dedicated to the community. We now have an opportunity to provide education and awareness of the importance of health care throughout each season.”
Elizabeth Concordia, president and CEO of UCHealth, echoed that sentiment in announcing the partnership. “UCHealth provides nationally-renowned specialists, advanced treatments and expert medical care, but whenever possible, we want our patients to stay healthy and out of our hospitals,” she said. “That’s why UCHealth has a unique focus on preventive care and improving the health of the communities we serve.”
Rodriguez said data collected in the first three months after the September launch of the partnership with the Broncos indicate that UCHealth’s brand awareness campaign has been successful. The effort includes television, radio, and print ads, sponsorships, social media, and other digital media vehicles. Marketing work with individual service lines across UCHealth has also been instrumental, he said.
Surveys measuring “unaided awareness” of health systems offer one example. The surveys ask consumers to name hospitals or systems without being offered any suggestions. In October, UCHealth was mentioned by 33 percent of respondents. The percentage rose to 59 percent in November. It dipped to 49 percent in December, but Rodriguez said UCHealth pulled back on its ads that month to avoid competing with holiday traffic.
Also encouraging, Rodriguez said, were results of a survey asking respondents what actions they took or intended to take as a result of seeing or hearing ads, social media posts, sponsorship announcements, and the like about UCHealth. Twenty percent said they talked to friends or family members about UCHealth and another 12 percent said they intended to do so. In addition, 17 percent said they would consider using UCHealth the next time they needed treatment, and 11 percent said they made an appointment with a UCHealth provider.
The numbers are impressive for a “non-consumable” commodity like health care, Rodriguez said. People might rush right out to buy a consumable, like pizza, after seeing an ad. Health care, on the other hand, isn’t something people go out to get on impulse. The key for a health care provider is to build a campaign that not only raises brand awareness but also makes an impression that sparks positive conversations among consumers, he said.
“The message we want to send is that whether you need UCHealth or not, you may know someone or have a relative that does and your awareness will translate to recommending us,” Rodriguez said. “The fact that more than 30 percent of people we surveyed said they have had or intended to have a conversation around the health care we provide is encouraging. The question now is, ‘Can we sustain it?’”
The new agreement with KSE will be one important part of answering that question positively, Rodriguez said.
“None of the strategies work in isolation,” he said. “There is no single lever pulling this campaign; it’s a combination of everything we are doing. But people should be excited about the KSE agreement. We’re investing in the community and we want more people to know about this place and the great care we provide.”