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Why we decided to sponsor the first direct arena in Leeds

Posted on 02 May 2014 by Gill Fleming

It hardly seems nine months ago that we were rocking out to Bruce Springsteen at the launch night of the first direct arena in Leeds but, believe it or not, the one-year anniversary of our sponsorship is here.

Thankfully, it’s been a year that has brought us plenty of excitement as well as some amazing and unforgettable events. The arena has hosted everyone from Rod Stewart to the Kaiser Chiefs and the legendary Prince has just announced a show. We’ve had the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and the X-Factor Live Tour… it’s a star-studded roll call!

We always wanted to find a way to give something back to the city we call home and the arena is one of the most thrilling developments Leeds has seen for many years. Sponsoring the stadium was one very specific way in which we could show our support on our home turf and invest in our city.

For many of our local staff and customers who live in Leeds, the reality of an arena in the city never seemed like it would happen. But it’s been worth the long wait as the 13,500-seater venue is undeniably amazing.

It’s the UK’s first purpose built fan-shaped arena and its presence has already brought many benefits. Regeneration projects have started up near the site, and we are starting to work with the council to give away tickets to charities and community partnerships to give people the opportunity to see events which they might not have been able to see otherwise.

The must-see big ticket event at the arena this year is the Team Presentation Ceremony of the Tour de France where the riders will be officially unveiled to the public.

The cyclists will then set off the next day from Leeds as part of the ‘Grand Depart’. And, although we’re not the official race sponsor, our branding will be around the city for all to see.

The arena naming has been our first big sponsorship opportunity and it allows us to get the first direct brand known to the thousands of entertainment, music, sports and comedy fans who attend its many gigs and events.

We organise competitions through our sports and social lottery, as well as pre-sale discounts. Arena staff also run around our offices on ticket dashes from time to time and that goes down really well with the team here.

first direct customers also get preferential access to the arena through an express entrance. They can receive a night out on us by entering competitions and prize draws to win exclusive access to our corporate box, where we’ll extend the entertainment for them and their friends. In only nine months there has been 58 shows and we’ve given away over 1,500 seats!

We haven’t seen whether the sponsorship has brought us more customers yet, but overall, considering we are a direct bank, having the arena sponsorship gives us a bricks and mortar presence and extends brand awareness. We also have our very first ATM at the arena in a jukebox design – it’s our coolest addition yet!

It’s still early days but the first direct arena personifies our brand - we share a real ethos of creating great customer experiences, and as the big names keep visiting Leeds, we’re continuing to offer something a bit extra special to our customers.

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