National City Sponsors Blue Angels

June 2, 2003
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MUSKEGON — National City Bank has anted up to help organizers of the annual Muskegon Air Fair bring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels back to town this summer.

National City, as it did in 2001 — the last time the Blue Angels appeared at the Air Fair — signed on as the sponsor of the air acrobatic team’s performance. The Air Fair is spending more than $100,000 to accommodate the Blue Angels, the team’s six F-18 jet fighters, and the 50-person support crew.

Muskegon is the team’s only Michigan appearance this year.

“We view the Muskegon Air Fair as a positive force in the West Michigan area and are excited to become a major part of the event,” said Doug Morgenstern, community bank president for National City in Muskegon.

The bank is one of many corporate sponsors for the 2003 Air Fair, which runs July 4-6. The terms of the sponsorship were not disclosed.

The sponsorship follows a growing trend by companies and organizers of community events and festivals.

Sponsorships and partnerships have become an increasingly important element of planning for annual festivals, as organizers seek to further tap corporate resources for help in staging and expanding their events as costs increase each year, and corporations look for new ways in which to promote their goods and services.

A festival offers the sponsor a unique venue to promote its products and generate a great deal of name recognition and exposure to a relatively captive audience, as well as the opportunity to generate goodwill in a community by providing support for a popular event and to entertain corporate clients.

Huntington Bank in April signed on as an exclusive title sponsor of this year’s Tall Ships Challenge, now known as the Huntington Harborfest Muskegon, in a $50,000 deal.

DaimlerChrysler is in the second year of a three-year deal as a major sponsor of the annual Summer Celebration in Muskegon.

The sponsorship for the Blue Angels, as well as that from other corporate backers, is critical to the Muskegon Air Fair’s ability to bring the team and other acts to town, Air Fair Chairman Rich Robinson said.

“Without their support, we simply could not bring world renowned acts like the Blue Angles to our show,” Robinson said.           

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