Suns News

Suns Enter Marketing Partnership With Southwest Airlines

Posted: June 10, 2003

The Phoenix Suns have entered into a new, expanded marketing partnership with Southwest Airlines, as announced today by Suns and Southwest officials.

Under terms of the multi-year agreement, Southwest will become the official airline of the Suns, and will be the exclusive airline partner for all Suns-related media, including television, cable and radio broadcasts. In addition, Southwest will be featured on outdoor billboards, on the team’s website ( and will participate in game media promotions as well as community relations events and projects with the Suns.

“We are excited about the additional marketing opportunities this new agreement provides Southwest Airlines and the Phoenix Suns,” said Michelle Marlowe, Southwest’s sports marketing specialist. “Our enhanced media presence with the Suns will open the door to new and unique lines of communication with our customers. We look forward to combining our efforts to make an even bigger difference in the Phoenix community and sharing our partnership with our more than 4,700 local Southwest employees, who will be thrilled to see Southwest as the Official Airline of their hometown team.”

Southwest Airlines currently operates 182 daily nonstop departures from Sky Harbor International Airport to 39 cities with additional direct or connecting service to 16 cities.

“Southwest Airlines is one of the most successful airlines in the business and has an excellent track record in sports marketing and sponsorships,” said Harvey Shank, senior vice president of corporate sales for the Suns. “They have been a valued partner of ours for the past 11 years and we are delighted to have them expand their level of involvement with us in such a significant way. The ‘every effort’ attitude displayed by their employees mirrors our approach, and having them be our exclusive partner in a wide range of community projects means that a variety of schools and organizations will be the beneficiary of some outstanding programs.”

One unique feature of this new partnership involves the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program. Starting in the 2003-04 NBA season, Rapid Rewards members can twice per month receive Phoenix Suns tickets at a substantial savings. They will also receive a 20 percent discount at all Team Shop locations.

A significant aspect of this partnership will involve community outreach. In one such program, Southwest Airlines will be donating 80 Suns tickets each game to various schools and non-profit organizations. The tickets will be distributed to these organizations based on criteria set out by Southwest employees.

Southwest and the Suns will also be teaming up on a program tied into the Southwest slogan, “A Symbol of Freedom.” Through this program, junior high school students from throughout Arizona will create posters depicting their own interpretation of “A Symbol of Freedom.” Winning posters will be put on display in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Terminal 4 and the school submitting the grand prize-winning poster along with 30 of his/her classmates will be treated to a trip to Washington, D.C. where they will visit many of our nation’s symbols of freedom.

Yet another youth outreach program the two companies will partner on is called “Southwest We Luv It Here.” This program is aimed at instilling pride in one’s school by encouraging students to develop creative ways to make their school better. Students from five schools will submit proposals on how best to use a $2,500 grant. Students submitting the winning proposals from each school will have the opportunity to implement their idea utilizing the grant and will also be treated to a Suns game.