Walmart steps into sports through arena partnership deal with the Oak View Group

27 March 2017

Walmart has partnered with the Oak View Group, a sports entertainment facility promoter, to become the big box retailer of 21 arenas across the US. The agreement is for three-years and said to be worth $40m, according to the Sports Business Journal.

This new partnership will be shaped around a program called Walmart Community Playmakers. Through this program, local residents will be honored for their work in education, fighting hunger and the environment, among other causes. The arenas will feature these “playmakers” during at least 15 games throughout the NBA and NHL seasons.

“This is the first step for Wal-Mart into this space,” said Dan Griffis, co-owner of Oak View Group and head of Narrative, OVG’s sales agency, to SBJ. “They liked the national platform with buildings in the top 25 [markets]. There is one contract and it provides economies of scale.”

The arenas, which include Chicago’s United Center and Los Angeles’ The Forum, are all a part of Arena Alliance, which are arenas that pay annual fees to the Oak View Group, who act as consultants to secure events and sponsors, among other things. They enumerated that the group of arenas think together, book together, buy together and sell together through the Oak View Group.

This partnership is Walmart’s first foray into sports and through it, the company will reach the 70 million people that visit the NBA and NHL facilities each year, according to the Oak View Group. This comes as the brands is looking to make big changes, including changes to its stores, merchandise upgrades and make their online and e-commerce operations better.