MIAMI — Let the record show Empower Retirement did not tweet out congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs for winning Super Bowl LIV.
Retirement plans may not be restricted to people living in the Rocky Mountain region, but what the nation’s second-leading retirement planner discovered the hard way is that when it comes to sports teams, fans are extremely parochial.
As Bronco fans know, Empower Retirement committed close to $5 million per year to put its name on the team’s stadium. Empower Field at Mile High was the new name of the Broncos’ 19-year-old home to begin the 2019 season. (The Denver Metropolitan Stadium District gets $3 million a year; the Broncos get a tad less than $2 million per).
> Above video from Sept. 5, 2019: Looking at the terms of the Empower Field at Mile High contract
But as Empower needs to compete with the Fidelity’s and other retirement providers of the world, it sponsors other sports teams and events across the country. As it so happens, the company has been a sponsor of the Chiefs and the Patriots longer than it has the Broncos. And so when the Chiefs beat the Titans in the AFC Championship Game on January 19, Empower tweeted out its congratulations.
“What a win! The @Chiefs are going to #SBLIV! #ProudPartner #Chiefs Kingdom.”
The message was posted above a photo of a red KC-logo’d helmet.
The tweet got ratio’d, as it’s called. Four times more comments than likes. Twitter comments are not for the faint of heart.
Broncoland’s local bloggers fanned the vitriol with headlines suggesting that by celebrating the Chiefs, Empower had disrespected the Broncos.
To the credit of Ed Murphy III, Empower’s chief executive officer, he did not duck an inquiry about his company’s partisanship as he walked through the NFL Honors show red carpet on Saturday. (He was there because, you know, the Empower-sponsored Chiefs were going to play in the Super Bowl.)
“Obviously, we support a lot of different athletes, a lot of different institutions,’’ Murphy said. “We have multiple relationships with the NFL and other sports. Obviously, our biggest commitment is in Denver. By far. When one of our teams excels we want to support them.’’
More recently, Empower tweeted out congratulations to Webb Simpson for winning the Phoenix Open golf tournament it sponsors, and Murphy personally tweeted congratulations to Steve Atwater following the former Broncos safety’s election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Empower’s headquarters are in Greenwood Village, a big reason why the stadium agreement was reached. Murphy said the financial commitment in putting the company’s name on the Broncos’ game-day venue has already been paying off.
It wouldn’t hurt if the Broncos won more, but they did come out ahead in their last four home games.
“Fabulous. I mean I really liked the way they finished the season,’’ Murphy said about the first season with Empower fronting the stadium name. “They made some changes to the coaching staff and I think that’s all constructive.
“And I think for Empower it’s been an absolute home run. I think the exposure we’ve received just in the first four months of the deal has just been tremendous.
“One thing I will say to the fans is that the whole signage will be fully activated by May or June of this year. A lot of what is appearing at the stadium now is temporary. So Empower Field at Mile High will come alive come May or June.’’
Although Empower was no doubt thrilled the Chiefs rallied to beat the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, Bronco fans may have noticed the company did not publish its excitement on social media. Even though it no doubt would have been good business in the Kansas City-area to do so.
But if the Broncos should win an AFC Championship Game in the next couple of years or so? It’s a safe bet Empower will be among the first to tweet out its congratulations.
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