A mock-up of the new signage on the ShowPlex at Washington State Fair.
It’s new names all around at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, which made headlines last year when deciding to change its name from the Western Washington Fair. The fairgrounds’ ShowPlex exhibition building will also be renamed this year, becoming the Sleep Country ShowPlex in a 10-year deal.
If the name Sleep Country USA sounds familiar, it’s for good reason. Its parent company, Sleep Train Inc., has been snapping up naming rights deals on the West Coast. Just two months ago, Sleep Train Mattress Centers added Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, Calif., to the list of venues bearing its moniker. The home of the National Basketball Association’s Sacramento Kings was branded Sleep Train Arena not long before that.
Sleep Country USA is a family-oriented, regional division of the company. It has had a previous partnership with the Washington State Fair, making deals to receive fair tickets to supplement philanthropic efforts, including the company’s work with the Sleep Country Foster Kids program.
According to Paula Beadle, fair sponsorship manager, the fairgrounds’ relationship with Sleep Country USA extends many years.
“Last year, we had a promotion where we brought in several organizations and foster families to have a behind-the-scenes experience of being at the fair for the day,” she said. “Sleep Country USA provided those families the chance to see the fair from a different perspective.”
Sleep Country USA was interested in sponsoring a building at the state fair due to its family-friendly nature.
“For the Foster Kids program in previous years, Sleep Country has worked with the fair to get free tickets for foster kids and their families,” said Jennifer Ritchie with Revolution PR for Sleep Country USA.
She said that the partnership made sense because the area doesn’t have many amusement parks or other places that families congregate.
“I would say the family-friendly aspect was very important,” said Ritchie.
“The fair tends to be kind of a big draw here because there aren’t many other things like that available,” she added.
The number of events in addition to the state fair also served as a draw. In 2012, the events center hosted 261 event days during 151 interim events. More than 500,000 guests go through its doors during interim events each year. Last year, more than 1.1 million visitors attended the fair.
Sleep Country USA is also a sponsor of the spring fair, a four-day event on the fairgrounds each year.
In addition to signage outside the building, which will increase from two signs to six large signs around the building, the ShowPlex will also increase signage inside the building.
“We even reconfigured the inside of the building to create a circular centerpiece-type booth for Sleep Country USA in the middle,” said Beadle.
“They also have marketing benefits, including promotional rights, inclusion and visibility on our website, and will be featured in a lot of our marketing collateral materials,” she added. “We’ll also do a program each year specifically to support their efforts around the Foster Kids campaign, which was a very important piece to them, and we’re providing them with lots of tickets to distribute to the families.”
Previously, the facility had a naming rights deal with Americraft Cookware. That company decided not to renew its contract.
“They’re still a partner with the fair and an old friend,” said Beadle. “Their business has changed and their objectives have changed, so we were really happy about Sleep Country USA having an interest in taking over that naming rights.”
“We always have appreciated our brand alignment with Sleep Country USA because of their efforts around the community, particularly around the Foster Kids program,” added Beadle.
The Washington State Fair runs Sept. 6-22, with the Spring Fair in Puyallup taking place April 18-21.
Interviewed for this story: Paula Beadle, (253) 845-1771; Jennifer Ritchie, (206) 354-8049